1997 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse:  Preliminary Results

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There were no major changes in the prevalence of the use of inhalants, hallucinogens, heroin or non-medical use of psychotherapeutics for those age 12 and older between 1996 and 1997. However, there was an increase in the prevalence of past month hallucinogen use among youth between 1994 and 1997 (1.1 percent to 1.9 percent).

oEstimates of heroin use from the NHSDA are considered very conservative due to the probable underreporting and undercoverage of the population of heroin users. Estimates of lifetime heroin prevalence have ranged from 2.3 million in 1979 to 1.6 million in 1992, 2.4 million in 1996, and 2 million in 1997. The estimated number of current heroin users was 68,000 in 1993, 117,000 in 1994, 196,000 in 1995, 216,000 in 1996, and 325,000 in 1997, representing an increase between 1993 and 1997. A ratio adjustment procedure that partially adjusts for underreporting and undercoverage results in estimates of 144,000 in 1993 and 408,000 in 1997 (See Appendix 2, "Estimation of Heavy Drug Use").

oAmong lifetime heroin users, the proportion who had ever smoked, sniffed, or snorted heroin increased from 55 percent in 1994 to 71 percent in 1997. At the same time, the proportion who had ever used heroin with a needle remained unchanged (49 percent in 1994, and 55 percent in 1997) (Figure 10).

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oThe rate of current use of hallucinogens did not change between 1996 and 1997 (0.6 percent in 1996 and 0.8 percent in 1997). The rate of use increased from 1992 to 1995, but remained steady from 1995 to 1997.

oFor inhalants, the overall rate of past month use has remained steady since 1994 (0.4 percent in 1994 through 1997).

oIn 1997, the estimated number of persons who have tried methamphetamine in their lifetime was 5.3 million (2.5 percent of the population). The estimate has increased significantly since 1994, when 1.8 percent of the population had ever used methamphetamine.

oThe estimated prevalence rate of nonmedical use of psychotherapeutics (tranquilizers, sedatives, analgesics, or stimulants) in the past month for those 12 and older was 1.4 percent in 1996 and 1.2 percent in 1997, not a statistically significant change. There was some variation in rates of use by specific drug category and by age group.

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This page was last updated on February 05, 2009.