Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) on Thursday at the start of the 19th annual National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. The survey, based on interviews with about 67,500 people, shows little change in illicit drug use since the previous year. Illicit drug use by Americans ages 12 and older went down only slightly from 8.3% in 2006 to 8% in 2007.
Some interesting findings, good and bad:
- Cocaine and meth use declined. Cocaine use among 18-25 year-olds dropped 23% (to 1.7%), and methamphetamine use among young adults fell by a third (to 0.4%) between 2006 and 2007.
- Youth are using less drugs. Among youth ages 12-17, there was a significant decline in overall past month illicit drug use (for nearly every type of drug), from 11.6% in 2002 to 9.5% in 2007.
- Baby-boomers are using more illicit drugs. Current illicit drug use among those aged 55 – 59 more than doubled, to 4.1% in 2007.
- Nonmedical prescription drug use by young adults is rising. Among young adults ages 18 – 25, the level of current nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers has risen 12% (to 4.6% in 2007).
- Substance abuse and mental health issues go hand in hand. In 2007, adults 18 and older who had experienced a major depressive episode in the past year were more than twice as likely as other adults to have used illicit drugs during that time (27.4% vs.12.8%).