The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Results (NSDUH) came out last month. This survey is the primary source of information on the use of illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco in the civilian, non-institutionalized citizens of the United States 12 years old or older. Approximately 67,500 persons are interviewed in NSDUH each year.
This survey is very important to track the trends and behavior of illicit drug use. Here are some of the findings:
- Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug and its prevalence has been growing. Between 2007 and 2012, the rate of current use increased from 5.8 to 7.3 percent, and the number of users increased from 14.5 million to 18.9 million.
- The rate of illicit drug use has been rising the past four years, from 8.1 percent in 2008 to 9.2 percent in 2012.
- An estimated 23.9 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users in 2012.
- The rate of cocaine abuse has dropped since 2006, from 2.4 million users to 1.6.
- Among adults aged 50 to 64, the rate of current illicit drug use increased during the past decade. For adults aged 50 to 54, the rate increased from 3.4 percent in 2002 to 7.2 percent in 2012.
- Those who used pain relievers nonmedically in the past 12 months, 54.0 percent got the drug they used most recently from a friend or relative for free, and 10.9 percent bought the drug from a friend or relative.
- Heroin is gaining in popularity with 156,000 who reported trying heroin for the first time in 2012 as compared to 90,000 in 2006.
It’s important to understand drug abuse and watch for it. In 2012, an estimated 22.2 million people were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year based on criteria specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV).