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2002 State Estimates of Substance Use

2. Illicit Drug Use

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) obtains information on nine different categories of illicit drug use: marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, and the nonmedical use of prescription-type pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. Estimates of "any illicit drug" use reflect any of the nine categories listed above. In 2002, an estimated 19.5 million Americans (8.3 percent of the population aged 12 or older) had used an illicit drug in the past month (Office of Applied Studies [OAS], 2003b). Marijuana, the most commonly used illicit drug, was used by about 75 percent of current illicit drug users (6.2 percent overall) (Table A.2). Approximately 3.7 percent of persons aged 12 or older used a substance other than marijuana in the past month (Table A.5).

 

2.1. Any Illicit Drug

Estimates of past month use of any illicit drug ranged from a low of 6.1 percent in Iowa to a high of 12.4 percent in the District of Columbia for all persons aged 12 or older (Table A.1). As was indicated in Chapter 1, the 2002 model-based estimates are not comparable with estimates for 2001 and prior years owing to the new methodological improvements.

The States with the highest rates of any illicit drug use for all persons aged 12 or older were mostly in the West (six States) and the Northeast (three States). Most of the States that displayed the lowest rates in the Nation were either from the South (five States) or the West (three States). Two Midwestern States, Kansas and Iowa, completed the lowest fifth. Among youths aged 12 to 17, States in the South again predominated the lowest fifth (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) (Figures 2.1 and 2.2).

 

2.2. Marijuana

Because marijuana is the predominant substance used by those using an illicit drug, States that showed high prevalence rates for any illicit drug also had high prevalence rates for past month use of marijuana. In fact, all 10 States in the top fifth for use of an illicit drug for persons aged 12 or older also were ranked in the top fifth for past month use of marijuana. In the 12 to 17 age group, seven States were in the top fifth for both use of any illicit drug and use of marijuana: Colorado, Delaware, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Vermont. Seven States were common to the top fifth for current marijuana use among persons aged 12 or older and youths aged 12 to 17: Colorado, District of Columbia, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Alabama had the lowest rate of current use of marijuana among persons aged 12 or older (Table A.5). Six other Southern States were in the lowest fifth for marijuana use among persons aged 12 or older: Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. Iowa, New Jersey, and Utah were the other States in the lowest fifth (Figures 2.5 and 2.6).

 

2.3. Perceptions of Risk of Marijuana Use

An individual's perception of the risks of substance use has been shown to be related to whether he or she actually uses the substance (e.g., Bachman, Johnston, & O'Malley, 1998). In 2002, the State with the lowest rate of perceived great risk of using marijuana occasionally (once a month) among persons aged 12 or older was Massachusetts (Table A.3). Only about 25 percent of all persons aged 12 or older in Massachusetts thought that occasional use was a great risk. This is striking in that Massachusetts reported only a moderate rate (6.3 percent) of past month use of marijuana in the 12 or older age group (Table A.2). States in the West and Northeast accounted for most of the lowest rates of perceptions of great risk of marijuana use among persons aged 12 or older. In addition to Massachusetts, there were Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Seven of the States having the lowest perceived risks also reported rates in the highest fifth for past month marijuana use for persons aged 12 or older. Similarly, of the 10 States indicating the highest perceived risk of occasional marijuana use among persons aged 12 or older, six had past month marijuana use rates that were in the lowest fifth (Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia) (Figures 2.5 and 2.9).

 

2.4. Incidence of Marijuana Use

Related to the prevalence of marijuana use is the number of persons in a period of time who used it for the first time ever. When the number of first-time users of a substance increases for a number of consecutive years, the prevalence rate for the substance tends to increase also.

The average annual incidence of marijuana in 2002 (averaged over the most recent 2 years and expressed as a percentage or rate per 100 person years of exposure) for all persons aged 12 or older was highest for Alaska (2.8) (Table A.4). The top fifth was comprised mostly of States from the West (five) and from the Northeast (four). Eight States ranked in the top fifth for marijuana incidence in the 12 or older age group also ranked in the top fifth for current marijuana use (Alaska, Colorado, District of Columbia, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) (Figures 2.5 and 2.13). Because most initiation of marijuana takes place at age 25 or earlier (Gfroerer, Wu, & Penne, 2002), the rates of initiation in the 26 or older age group were much lower than those in the 12 to 17 and 18 to 25 age groups: 0.1, 6.9, and 6.8, respectively (Table A.4). The District of Columbia reported the highest rate among youths aged 12 to 17 (9.4), while New Hampshire reported the highest rate among persons aged 18 to 25 (11.8). In the 12 or older age group, eight States from the South were ranked in the lowest fifth for incidence of marijuana.

 

2.5. Any Illicit Drug Other Than Marijuana

Illicit drugs other than marijuana include cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, and the nonmedical use of prescription-type pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. A number of States (six) that fell into the top fifth for past month use of an illicit drug among those aged 12 or older also were ranked in the top fifth for current use of an illicit drug other than marijuana: Alaska, District of Columbia, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington (Figures 2.1 and 2.17). The other States in the top fifth (Arizona, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Oklahoma) reported rates of current use of an illicit drug that were lower and rates of past month marijuana use that fell into the middle or next-to-lowest fifth.

In the 18 to 25 age group, the rate of past month use of these drugs was highest in Rhode Island (14.1 percent); among youths, the rate was highest in North Carolina (8.1 percent) (Table A.5). Only two of the States in the top fifth for these drugs among youths and three States in the top fifth among those aged 18 to 25 also were in the top fifth among the 12 or older age group (Figures 2.1, 2.5, and 2.17 to 2.19).

 

2.6. Cocaine

The national prevalence rate for the use of cocaine in the past year among all persons aged 12 or older was 2.5 percent (Table A.6). Because cocaine is one of the substances included in the "any illicit drug other than marijuana" category, it is useful to compare the rankings of States with respect to these two substance measures. In 2002, only five of the States with the 10 highest rates of past month use of an illicit drug other than marijuana (aged 12 or older) also had past year rates of cocaine use (aged 12 or older) that were in the top fifth. The District of Columbia had the highest rate of past year cocaine use both among persons aged 12 or older and those aged 26 or older, but it was in the lowest fifth for those aged 12 to 17 and for those aged 18 to 25. Colorado was the only State that ranked in the top fifth for all three age groups (12 to 17, 18 to 25, and 26 or older) (Figures 2.17 and 2.21 to 2.24).

 

Figure 2.1 Percentages Reporting Past Month Use of Any Illicit Drug among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.2 Percentages Reporting Past Month Use of Any Illicit Drug among Youths Aged 12 to 17, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.3 Percentages Reporting Past Month Use of Any Illicit Drug among Persons Aged 18 to 25, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.4 Percentages Reporting Past Month Use of Any Illicit Drug among Persons Aged 26 or Older, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.5 Percentages Reporting Past Month Use of Marijuana among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.6 Percentages Reporting Past Month Use of Marijuana among Youths Aged 12 to 17, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.7 Percentages Reporting Past Month Use of Marijuana among Persons Aged 18 to 25, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.8 Percentages Reporting Past Month Use of Marijuana among Persons Aged 26 or Older, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.9 Percentages Reporting Perceptions of Great Risk of Smoking Marijuana Once a Month among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.10 Percentages Reporting Perceptions of Great Risk of Smoking Marijuana Once a Month among Youths Aged 12 to 17, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.11 Percentages Reporting Perceptions of Great Risk of Smoking Marijuana Once a Month among Persons Aged 18 to 25, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.12 Percentages Reporting Perceptions of Great Risk of Smoking Marijuana Once a Month among Persons Aged 26 or Older, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.13 Average Annual Rates of First Use of Marijuana among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.14 Average Annual Rates of First Use of Marijuana among Youths Aged 12 to 17, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.15 Average Annual Rates of First Use of Marijuana among Persons Aged 18 to 25, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.16 Average Annual Rates of First Use of Marijuana among Persons Aged 26 or Older, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.17 Percentages Reporting Past Month Use of Any Illicit Drug Other Than Marijuana among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.18 Percentages Reporting Past Month Use of Any Illicit Drug Other Than Marijuana among Youths Aged 12 to 17, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.19 Percentages Reporting Past Month Use of Any Illicit Drug Other Than Marijuana among Persons Aged 18 to 25, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.20 Percentages Reporting Past Month Use of Any Illicit Drug Other Than Marijuana among Persons Aged 26 or Older, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.21 Percentages Reporting Past Year Use of Cocaine among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.22 Percentages Reporting Past Year Use of Cocaine among Youths Aged 12 to 17, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.23 Percentages Reporting Past Year Use of Cocaine among Persons Aged 18 to 25, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

 

Figure 2.24 Percentages Reporting Past Year Use of Cocaine among Persons Aged 26 or Older, by State: 2002

     D

Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002.

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This page was last updated on June 03, 2008.