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2001 National Household  Survey on Drug Abuse

2. Illicit Drug Use

The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) obtains information on nine different categories of illicit drug use: marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, and nonmedical use of prescription-type pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. In these categories, hashish is included with marijuana, and crack is considered a form of cocaine. Several drugs are grouped under the hallucinogens category, including LSD, PCP, peyote, mescaline, mushrooms, and "Ecstasy" (MDMA). Inhalants include a variety of substances, such as amyl nitrite, cleaning fluids, gasoline, paint, and glue. The four categories of prescription-type drugs (pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives) cover numerous drugs available through prescriptions and sometimes illegally "on the street." Methamphetamine is included under stimulants. Over-the-counter drugs and legitimate uses of drugs under a doctor's prescription are not included. Respondents are asked to report only uses of drugs that were not prescribed for them or they took only for the experience or feeling they caused. NHSDA reports combine the four prescription-type drug groups into a category referred to as "any psychotherapeutics."

Estimates of "any illicit drug use" reported from the NHSDA reflect use of any of the nine substance categories listed above. Use of alcohol and tobacco products, while illegal for youths, are not included in these estimates, but are discussed in Chapters 3 and 4. Findings from the 2001 NHSDA on illicit drug use are summarized below.







Pregnant Women








College Students




Geographic Area


Criminal Justice Populations



Frequency of Use



Association with Cigarette and Alcohol Use


Driving Under the Influence of Illicit Drugs

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This page was last updated on June 16, 2008.