SAMHSA Assesses Recent Trends in Illicit Drug Use

Illicit drugs and alcohol use in 2010 similar to that in 2009, but higher than in 2008

THURSDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- The use of illicit drugs and alcohol remained similar between 2009 and 2010, but was higher than in 2008, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, published Sept. 8 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at the start of the 22nd annual National Recovery Month held in September in United States.

SAMHSA presented their findings on the use of illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco in the civilian, noninstitutionalized U.S. population aged 12 years or older in 2010.

The report revealed that about 22.6 million Americans (8.9 percent of the population aged 12 or older) were current illicit drug users in 2010, compared with 8.7 percent in 2009 and 8.0 percent in 2008, with an estimated 3.0 million first time users in 2010. Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug, and the rate of use increased from 5.8 percent in 2007 to 6.9 percent in 2010. The numbers of cocaine users, age 12 and older, were similar in 2009 and 2010 (0.7 and 0.6 percent, respectively), and were lower than estimates in 2006. Among youths aged 12 to 17, the current illicit drug use rate increased from 9.3 percent in 2008 to 10.0 percent in 2009 and 10.1 percent in 2010. Slightly more than half (51.8 percent) of Americans aged 12 and older reported being current drinkers in 2010, similar to 51.9 percent in 2009.

"These statistics represent real lives that are at risk from the harmful and sometimes devastating effects of illicit drug use," SAMHSA administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., said in a statement.

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