Sobering stats about drug use

Published 2:31 am Saturday, September 20, 2014


A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides insight into the nature and scope of substance use and mental illness issues affecting America. The report was released in conjunction with the 25th annual observance of National Recovery Month in September.

The report shows:

• 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users – 9.4 percent of this age group.

• Marijuana was by far the most commonly used illicit drug with 19.8 million current users aged 12 and older.

• Among those 12 and older:

–4.5 million current nonmedical users of prescription pain relievers

–1.5 million current cocaine users

–595,000 methamphetamine users

–289,000 current heroin users

Although an estimated 22.7 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem, only 2.5 million persons received treatment at a specialty facility.

The report also shows that 34.6 million adults aged 18 or older (14.6 percent of the population aged 18 or older) received mental health treatment or counseling during the past 12 months. Nearly one in five American adults (18.5 percent), or 43.8 million adults, had a mental illness in 2013. Ten million adults (4.2 percent of the adult population) had a serious mental illness in the past year. Serious mental illness is defined as mental illness that resulted in serious functional impairment, which substantially interfered with, or limited, one or more major life activities.