- In 2008, an estimated 20.1 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users, meaning they had used an illicit drug during the month prior to the survey interview. This estimate represents 8.0 percent of the population aged 12 years old or older. Illicit drugs include marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or prescription-type psychotherapeutics used non-medically.
- Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug (15.2 million past month users). Among persons aged 12 or older, the rate of past month marijuana use in 2008 (6.1 percent) was similar to the rate in 2007 (5.8 percent).
- In 2008, there were 1.9 million current cocaine users aged 12 or older, comprising 0.7 percent of the population. These estimates were similar to the number and rate in 2007 (2.1 million or 0.8 percent), but lower than the estimates in 2006 (2.4 million or 1.0 percent).
- From 2002 to 2008, there was an increase among young adults aged 18 to 25 in the rate of current nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers (from 4.1 to 4.6 percent) and in LSD (from 0.1 to 0.3 percent). There were decreases in the use of inhalants (from 0.5 to 0.3 percent) and methamphetamine (from 0.6 to 0.2 percent).
- Slightly more than half of Americans aged 12 or older reported being current drinkers of alcohol in the 2008 survey (51.6 percent). This translates to an estimated 129.0 million people, which was similar to the 2007 estimate of 126.8 million people (51.1 percent). In 2008, more than one fifth (23.3 percent) of persons aged 12 or older participated in binge drinking. This translates to about 58.1 million people, similar to the estimate in 2007. Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the 30 days prior to the survey.
Top 5 facts sources: 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Office of Applied Studies.