Illicit Drug Use on the Rise; More Teens Abusing Drugs than Ever Before

Share Article

According to a December 2012 study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, illicit drug use in America has been increasing, up almost half a percent since 2002.

National Institute on Drug Abuse

There is a large treatment gap in America

A study on the use of illicit drugs in America shows that drug use is rising. The National Institute on Drug Abuse released a study, showing the statistics on the general use of drugs. While the overall use of illicit drugs was up in the ten year period, most of the increase was due to increased usage of marijuana. Most other drugs stayed the same or even decreased. According to the study, 8.7% of the population over 12 years in age had used or abused an illicit drug or psychotherapeutic medication (pain reliever, stimulant, or tranquilizer), equating to a total 22.5 million Americans who used drugs.

Since 2006, cocaine use had gone down steadily, from 1.0% in 2006 to 0.5% in 2011. Marijuana on the other hand rose sharply in 2007 from 5.8% to 7.0% in 2011. Marijuana is the most used drug by new drug users with over 67.5% of drug users initiating their drug use with it.

The age group with the highest concentration of drug users is concentrated in the late teen years and twenties. However, ages 14-15 have a higher average rate of use than all of the age groups 35 and over, showing that drug use is affecting teens at a younger age than ever before. An interesting find in the study, shows that drug use is increasing in the over 50 population.

The most widely abused drug behind alcohol is marijuana, with pain relievers coming in 3rd and cocaine 4th and heroin 5th in the study. Interestingly, the harder street drugs have showed a decline over the last 10 years and recreational drugs like marijuana have seen their use increase dramatically.

Since drug use has grown over the past 10 years, it only makes sense that the need for drug addiction treatment has grown as well, however this need is not getting met. There is a large treatment gap in America, with only 2.3 million people getting addiction treatment out of the total 21.6 people who needed the treatment.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is conducted every year by the National Institute of Health. In 2011, there were 67,500 responses to the survey.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Andrey Rossin
Follow us on
Visit website