Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released their latest report on Drug Use and Mental Health in the United States. This report summarizes findings for key substance use and mental health indications from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The report is based on data from 67,791 completed interviews from 2018 NSDUH respondents aged 12 or older.
In 2018, an estimate 164.8 million people aged 12 or older in the United States (60.2 percent were past month substance users (i.e., tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drugs). 31.9 million people used an illicit drug.
In 2018, about 139.8 million Americans aged 12 or older were past month alcohol users, 67.1 million were binge drinkers in the past month, and 16.6 million were heavy drinkers in the past month. Binge drinking is defined differently for the sexes. For men, binge drinking is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on a least 1 day in the past 30 days. For women, binge drinking is defined as drinking four or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days. Heavy Alcohol use is defined as binge drinking on five or move days in the past 30 days. 16.6 million wee heavy drinkers in the past month.
Illicit Drug Use
In 2018, nearly one in five people aged 12 or older (19.4 percent) used an illicit drug in the past year, which is higher than in 2015 and 2016. Marijuana was the chief driver in the increase with 43.5 million past year marijuana users.
Prescription pain reliever misuse was the second most common form of illicit drug use in the United States with 3.6 percent of the population misusing pain relievers. More than half of people who misused pain relievers in the past year obtained the last pain reliever they misused from a friend or relative.
Substance Use Initiation
The largest number of recent initiates of use or misuse were alcohol with 4.9 million new users and marijuana with 3.1 million new users. One bright spot is that the number of adolescents and young adults misusing prescription pain relievers was lower than the past years.
Perceived Risk from Substance Use
In 2018, more than four out of five people aged 12 or older perceived great risk of harm from weekly use of cocaine or heroin (86.5 and 94.3 percent) while only one third of people (30.6 percent) perceived great risk of harm from weekly marijuana use. About two out of three people (68.5 percent) perceived great risk from daily binge drinking.
Illicit Drug Use in the Past Year
53.2 million people used illicit drugs in the past year. The most commonly used illicit drug in the past year was marijuana which was used by 43.5 million people. The second most common type of illicit drug use in the United States with the misuse of prescription pain relievers by an estimated 9.9 million people in the past year.
Substance Abuse Treatment
In 2018, an estimated 21.2 million people aged 12 or older needed substance abuse treatment. This translates to one in 13 people need treatment.