Youth Substance Usse Declines
Despite many positive trends, the survey also reveals some less encouraging data. Among young adults age 18 to 25, the level of current nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers has risen 12 percent (from
4.1 in 2002 to 4.6 percent in 2007). Among adults age 26 and older, the rate also increased, from 1.3 to 1.6 percent.
Overall, 6.9 million people (2.8 percent) age 12 or older used prescription-type psychotherapeutic drugs nonmedically in the past month. Of these, 5.2 million used pain relievers, the same number as in 2006.
Among people age 12 or older who used pain relievers nonmedically in the past
year, 56.5 percent reported that the source
of the drug the most recent time they used was a friend or relative for free. Another 18.1 percent reported they got the drug
from one doctor.
Among adults age 50 to 59, the rate
of current illicit drug use showed an increasing trend between 2002 and 2007. For those age 50 to 54, the rate increased from 3.4 percent in 2002 to 5.7 percent
The level of current illicit drug use
among people age 55 to 59 more than doubled from 1.9 percent in 2002 to 4.1 percent in 2007.
Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug (14.4 million past-month users). Among people age 12 or older, the rate of past-month marijuana use in 2007 (5.8 percent) was similar to the corresponding estimates for 2005 and 2006.
Current marijuana use among youth
age 12 to 17 declined from 8.2 percent
in 2002 to 6.7 percent in 2007. Most of the decline occurred between 2002 and 2005.
NSDUH is a scientifically conducted annual survey of approximately 67,500 people throughout the Nation. It is a primary source of information on the levels of illicit drug, alcohol, and tobacco use as well as certain mental health conditions. Because of improvements to the survey in 2002, the 2002 data constitute a new baseline for tracking trends.
Complete NSDUH findings are available on the SAMHSA Web.