Drugs in the United StatesThe results are in. The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings¹ has been released.

The report is a joint project prepared by the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and by RTI International (a trade name of Research Triangle Institute).

The findings come from detailed results of the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an annual survey sponsored by SAMHSA. This survey is the primary source of information on the use of illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco in the civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States aged 12 years old or older. Approximately 67,500 persons are interviewed in NSDUH each year and their honest responses paint a picture of drug use – and abuse – in America. Here are some of the report’s most important findings:

Drug Use

  • In 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users, meaning they had used an illicit drug during the month prior to the survey interview. This estimate represents 9.4 percent of the population aged 12 or older. Illicit drugs include marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants or prescription-type psychotherapeutics (pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives) used non-medically.
  • The rate of current illicit drug use among persons aged 12 or older in 2013 (9.4 percent) was similar to the rates in 2010 (8.9 percent) and 2012 (9.2 percent), but it was higher than the rates in 2002 to 2009 and in 2011 (ranging from 7.9 to 8.7 percent).
  • Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug in 2013. There were 19.8 million past month users in 2013 (7.5 percent of those aged 12 or older), which was similar to the number and rate in 2012 (18.9 million or 7.3 percent). The 2013 rate was higher than the rates in 2002 to 2011 (ranging from 5.8 to 7.0 percent). Marijuana was used by 80.6 percent of current illicit drug users in 2013.

Daily or almost daily use of marijuana (used on 20 or more days in the past month) increased from 5.1 million persons in 2005 to 2007 to 8.1 million persons in 2013.

  • In 2013, there were 1.5 million current cocaine users aged 12 or older, or 0.6 percent of the population. These estimates were similar to the numbers and rates in 2009 to 2012 (ranging from 1.4 million to 1.7 million or from 0.5 to 0.7 percent), but they were lower than those in 2002 to 2007 (ranging from 2.0 million to 2.4 million or from 0.8 to 1.0 percent).
  • The number of past year heroin users in 2013 (681,000) was similar to the numbers in 2009 to 2012 (ranging from 582,000 to 669,000) and was higher than the numbers in 2002 to 2005, 2007, and 2008 (ranging from 314,000 to 455,000).
  • An estimated 1.3 million persons aged 12 or older in 2013 (0.5 percent) used hallucinogens in the past month. The number of users in 2013 was similar to that in 2012 (1.1 million), but it was higher than in 2011 (1.0 million).
  • The number and percentage of past month methamphetamine users in 2013 (595,000 or 0.2 percent) were similar to those in 2012 (440,000 or 0.2 percent) and 2011 (439,000 or 0.2 percent), but they were higher than the estimates in 2010 (353,000 or 0.1 percent).
  • Among youths aged 12 to 17, the rate of current illicit drug use was lower in 2013 (8.8 percent) than in 2002 to 2007 (ranging from 9.6 to 11.6 percent) and in 2009 to 2012 (ranging from 9.5 to 10.1 percent).
  • Among youths aged 12 to 17, the rate of current nonmedical use of prescription-type drugs declined from 4.0 percent in 2002 and 2003 to 2.2 percent in 2013. The rate of nonmedical pain reliever use among youths also declined from 3.2 percent in 2002 and 2003 to 1.7 percent in 2013.

The rate of current use of illicit drugs among young adults aged 18 to 25 in 2013 (21.5 percent) was similar to the rates in 2009 to 2012 (ranging from 21.3 to 21.6 percent), which was consistent with the steady rate of current marijuana use in this age group during this time (19.1 percent in 2013 and ranging from 18.2 to 19.0 percent in 2009 to 2012).

  • Among young adults aged 18 to 25, the rate of current nonmedical use of prescription-type drugs in 2013 was 4.8 percent, which was similar to the rates in 2011 (5.0 percent) and 2012 (5.3 percent), but it was lower than the rates in the years from 2002 to 2010 (ranging from 5.5 to 6.5 percent).
  • The rate of current cocaine use in 2013 among young adults aged 18 to 25 was 1.1 percent, which was similar to the rates in 2009, 2011, and 2012, but it was lower than the rates from 2002 to 2008 and in 2010.
  • Among adults aged 26 or older, the rate of current illicit drug use in 2013 (7.3 percent) was similar to the rate in 2012 (7.0 percent), but it was higher than the rates in 2002 to 2011 (ranging from 5.5 to 6.6 percent). This was driven by rates of current marijuana use, which also remained steady between 2013 and 2012 (5.6 and 5.3 percent, respectively). However, the rate of current marijuana use in 2013 was higher than the rates in 2002 to 2011 (ranging from 3.9 to 4.8 percent).

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction and a co-occurring disorder, call us today. We’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can provide information on treatment programs, help with insurance and answer questions about the treatment process.

1) The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-48, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14-4863. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014.

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