Are Americans Using Illegal Drugs More Often?


A federal government study was conducted in 2007 to answer the questions above; this study has given us an insight to the latest trends that relate to drug, alcohol, and tobacco use within the United States. The study findings were released by the Department of Health and Human Services. 

The data gained through the study concluded that the abuse of prescription pain relievers had increased from the year before in individuals who were aged 18 to 25; however, this group of people had seen a decrease in abuse towards cocaine and methamphetamine. From the year 2002, baby boomers had doubled their use of illicit drugs; the percentage increased from 1.9% to 4.1%.

Even though the statistics gained from young adults seemed to be positive, Mike Leavitt, the Health and Human Services Secretary, stated that there was still much work to be done. His exact words were, “These results confirm that progress has been made, particularly regarding substance abuse among younger Americans.”

He also stated that “The report also reminds us of the importance of our efforts to provide substance abuse treatment to those in need and to encourage health care professionals to identify people who are at risk for developing substance abuse problems and intervene early.”

The survey that was conducted was given to around 67,500 individuals, all of whom were the age of 12 or older. More findings from the study are listed below:

Illicit Drugs

Around 8% of the people who were a part of the study admitted to having used some type of illicit drug at least within the past of month of having completed the study’s survey. To clarify, an illicit drug is any of the following:

- prescriptions drugs that are abused
– hallucinogens
– marijuana
– crack
– inhalants
– cocaine
– heroin
– hashish

Even though the use of illicit drugs seems to have remained the same for 12 to 17 years olds between the years of 2006 to 2007, when looked at from 2002 to 2007, the use actually decreased. 

On the downside, among those individuals aged 18 to 25, the rate of illicit drug abuse increased 12% between the years of 2002 to 2007. 

56% of the individuals who abused non-prescription painkillers said they obtained the drugs from a friend or family member. 

The most popular type of drug used by those surveyed was marijuana. Almost 6% of the people who took part in the survey admitted to using marijuana; however, the use of this illicit drug amongst 12 to 17 year olds had decreased since the year 2002.

Almost 1% of the people surveyed admitted that they were currently abusing cocaine. 

Alcohol Use

Over 50% of the people surveyed admitted that they currently consume alcohol. The largest age group of drinkers was people 18 to 25 years old. 

Tobacco Use 

Almost 25% of the people surveyed admitted to being current smokers. 5% of these people stated that they smoke cigars, while 3% stated that they consume chew tobacco or some type of snuff. 

Out of the pregnant women that were surveyed, 16% of them admitted to smoking while pregnant. 


Author Byline: Lillian Sanders works closely with Best Drug Rehabilitation, helping people struggling with alcohol and drug addiction.

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2 thoughts on “Are Americans Using Illegal Drugs More Often?

  1. Pingback: Drug Abuse Negativity Affects Sexual Performance | Keep Your Panties Up and Your Skirt Down

  2. Pingback: Substance Abuse and Families - Dad Blunders | Life As I Know It

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