Your local clinical lab


News on Drug Use in America

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently released 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report – the largest of its kind (70,000 participants throughout the United States), and is the government’s primary vehicle for determining how many persons are using illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, as well as how many are misusing pharmaceuticals.

Although the rate of marijuana use rose in almost every age group, and was up from 5.8% of all Americans in 2007 to 7.3% in 2012, use of this substance dropped slightly for those aged 12 to 17 years.

However, use of heroin by all individuals older than 12 years rose dramatically during the past 5 years, from 373,000 users in 2007 to 669,000 users in 2012.

It showed similar, although slightly increased, rates between 2012 and 2011 of past-month nonmedical use of prescription medications by individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 years (5.3% vs 5.0%, respectively). Both rates were significantly lower than the 6.4% found in 2009.

Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug in 2012, just as it was in 2011, with 18.9 million past-month users. Still, the rate of use dropped from 7.9% in 2011 to 7.2% in 2012 for those between the ages of 12 and 17 years.

Although the overall use of illicit drugs by persons older than 11 years “remained stable” between 2011 and 2012, the NSDUH reports that 23.9 million Americans used illegal substances last year.

The 12-17 year olds group showed a drop in past-month overall use of illicit drugs, with a 9.5% rate in 2012 and a 10.1% rate in 2011, as well as small drops in the specific use of hallucinogens and inhalants.

Many American needing treatment for a substance use disorder are still not receiving specialty treatment: 2.5 million Americans older than 11 years received specialized treatment in 2012 ? but more than 23 million needed it.

The most common reason given for not seeking treatment was having no health coverage because of cost, followed by not being ready to stop using substances and current health plan not covering treatment and/or costs.

The uptick in heroin use is the most disturbing statistics, but other drug-related issues are still a major concern.

Drug Use in America

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.