National Survey Shows Reduction in Non-Medical Prescription Drug Use Among Young Adults

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The number of people aged 18 to 25 who used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in the past month declined 14 percent—from 2.0 million in 2010 to 1.7 million in 2011—the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced today, during the 23rd annual national observance of National Recovery Month. Non-medical use of prescription drugs among children aged 12 to 17 and adults aged 26 or older remained unchanged.

In addition, the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), a survey conducted annually by SAMHSA, showed that the rates of past-month drinking, binge drinking and heavy drinking among underage people continued a decline from 2002. Past-month alcohol use among 12- to 20-year-olds declined from 28.8 percent in 2002 to 25.1 percent in 2011, while binge drinking (consuming 5 or more drinks on a single occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days) declined from 19.3 percent in 2002 to 15.8 percent in 2011, and heavy drinking declined from 6.2 percent in 2002 to 4.4 percent in 2011.

Overall, the use of illicit drugs among Americans aged 12 and older remained stable since the last survey in 2010. The NSDUH shows that 22.5 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users—(8.7 percent of the population 12 and older in 2011 versus 8.9 percent in 2010).

NSDUH is an annual nationwide survey of approximately 70,000 people age 12 and older. Because of its statistical power, it is the Nation's premier source of statistical information on the scope and nature of many substance abuse and mental health issues affecting the Nation.

Read the Full Announcement in SAMHSA News | View the Complete Survey Results

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