General Population Drug Use Statistics
- September 2010 Report: 21.8 million
Americans age 12 or older used illegal drugs in the past month, up from 19.7
million in 2006. million Americans used drugs
in the past month. The highest
percentage for illicit drug use is 18 to 21. This represents 8.7 percent of
the population. The most abused illicit drug
is marijuana with 14.6 million drug users. On a regular basis,.2.4 million Americans use
- 13 million Americans have an alcohol
drinking problem. Their
alcohol use has resulted in a criminal arrest, termination from their job, or
family disruption such as divorce. It is important to realize that alcohol
is a drug. In 2005, 2.5 million Americans received treatment for alcohol
- Over 60 million prescriptions were written by American doctors for
Valium and other similar acting tranquilizers.
Many people do not
consider the legal drugs, alcohol, and mood altering prescription drugs to
be a safety risk. When used as directed, most of these drugs are safe.
However, when tranquilizers such as Valium, Soma, or Xanax are mixed with even small
amounts of alcohol, the synergistic effect quickly becomes dangerous.
In 2005, 1.8 million Americans abused tranquilizers.
40% jump in employees testing positive
for prescription narcotics form 2005-2009. A November 18, 2010
report by Quest Diagnostics also found that post-accident drug tests are
four-times more likely to find narcotics than pre-employment drug tests
(3.7% vs. 0.78%). Vicodin is the most frequently found narcotic prescription
drug of abuse.
A drug is any substance,
which can impair a persons ability to safely function in society:
Illegal controlled substances such as
cocaine, heroin, and marijuana
Prescription medicines such as valium, and
Alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, ale,
and distilled liquors
such as spray paint, glue,
Natural plant intoxicants such as mescaline,
psilocybin and peyote.
"8.7 percent of the
population aged 12 years old or older used illicit drugs including
marijuana, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens,
inhalants, or prescription-type psychotherapeutics used
September, 2010 report: "National Survey on Drug Use and Health" US
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
More 18-25 year olds were
first-time prescription drug abusers than first-time marijuana users
according to a October, 2006 study "Misuse of Prescription Drugs" by
the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Workplace Drug Use
- 8 percent of full-time and 10.2 percent of
part-time employees abuse illegal drugs. The 2010 National Drug
Treat Assessment published by the U.S. Dept. of Justice notes an increase in
workplace drug abuse, primarily prescription narcotics.
- 32% of workers stated a co-workers drug/alcohol use
affected their job
performance. When an employee is impaired on the job, the company
has not only lost one productive employee, but in fact has dramatically
reduced the productivity of all the other workers who they interact with.
Drug use in the workplace has a ripple effect. Not only is
productivity reduced, but company morale is negatively impacted, causing
good employees to leave the company to avoid drug impaired co-workers.
- Workplace drug use.
An October 29, 2010 report from urine drug testing company Quest Diagnostics found
8 percent of full-time workers and 11.5 percent of part-time workers were
current drug abusers. US Department of Labor studies in 2006 found much
higher worker drug abuse rates in the food services, construction and durable
goods sectors. One of the biggest changes in workplace drug use is
the switch to prescription drugs. A 2008 report by Quest Diagnostic found more
workers are now testing positive for prescription drugs than cocaine and
Semi-tractor trailer truck drivers
test positive for drugs. A 2007 study
conducted in Oregon by the state police found nearly ten percent of randomly
selected truck drivers tested positive for drugs, with both marijuana and
methamphetamine rates higher than in similar checks in 1998.
Federal government data shows drug use among truckers to be much lower than
ten percent so what accounts for the discrepancy? A 2007 study by the
Government Accounting Office (GAO) found it is easy to beat the mandatory
urine drug test. Congressman Jim Oberstar, chairman of the House
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who asked GAO to investigate,
said the report was “frankly astonishing, shocking and dismaying. You can
manipulate the tests, you can mask substance abuse and go undetected on the
- Non-professional drivers drug use.
Sales people and other non-professional drivers operating a company car also
put their employers and the public at risk while driving with drugs in their
system. A November 30, 2010 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration federal report showed
18 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for illicit drugs, an
increase from 2005 to 2009. A self-reported study from the National
Institute of Drug Abuse found 35.4% of drivers age 21-25 admitted
driving while abusing more than one impairing drugs. A Northwestern University study of 200
Chicago area traffic crashes found 54% of non-professional drivers were
poly-drug users and none of the cases were detected by police investigating
- Impact of employee drug use:
Workers who reported current illicit
drug use were more likely to have worked for three or more employers in the
past year and to have higher rates of unexcused absence and voluntary
turnover in the past year than those who did not report drug use.
- Company Drug Policy Matters:
Workers whose employer did not have a written drug policy were about twice as
likely to report they used illicit drugs in the past month as employers with
written policies about drug use.
School Student Drug Use Statistics
- Prescription drug abuse is up 6.3%
among 18-25 year olds.
The most frequently abused prescription drug is the
narcotic Vicodin and its cousin Lortab. This abuse often progresses to
OxyContin and heroin abuse. For the first
time, there are now more first-time adolescent prescription drug abusers than
first-time marijuana users!
Adolescent prescription drugs are coming from parents. A 2009 study
by Columbia University found that most adolescents obtain intoxicating
prescription drugs from their parents medicine cabinet. Ten percent of teens
surveyed said they know a parent who smokes marijuana with teens.
- The fastest growing drug of abuse in American high schools is
heroin. Many wealthy communities across the country are reporting high school
overdose deaths from heroin, a shocking new trend in teenage drug use.
- 40% of high school seniors reported they had smoked marijuana during the
past 12 months. Marijuana is considered one of the "gateway
drugs" introducing young people to the pleasant sensation of drug
intoxication. Experts agree that stopping the gateway drugs is a
better strategy than attempting rehab for teens addicted to crack cocaine or
- Nation-wide, 25% of high school seniors have used stimulant drugs like
"speed." In some areas of the country, primarily the
southwest and rural Midwest, amphetamine use has sky rocketed to epidemic
proportions—more than double the national average.
- Use of new "Designer Drugs" is dramatically higher. Called
"Super - G" or "Liquid - G" or "Liquid
Ecstasy" on the street, G.H.B., (Gama Hydroxi-Butyric Acid), has become
a popular teen dance club party drug because it produces a alcohol like drug
effect with no odor of alcohol. The old 1970 drug, MDA/MDMA is making
a strong comeback among teens at dance clubs. Called
"Ecstasy" or "Adam," it produces a euphoric cocaine-like
high without the "speedy" side effects of cocaine. Teens
love the drug because it allows they to dance for hours without feeling
- Rural Teens are 83% more likely to use crack cocaine, 34% more
likely to smoke marijuana, and twice as likely to use amphetamines than teens
in large cities. Rural areas often have fewer prevention, enforcement,
and rehabilitation resources than urban areas.
Criminal Drug Use Statistics
- 82% of persons arrested by Chicago area police tested positive for
illicit drugs. The US Department of Justice Drug Use Forecasting
Study provides accurate trends on drug abuse in selected cities around the
- Most people arrested for criminal acts test positive for cocaine.
Although marijuana is the most popular illicit drug in America, 52% of
persons arrested in the Chicago metro area tested positive for cocaine, not
marijuana. Most of these individuals have falling into drug addiction
and commit crimes to feed their addiction or to provide money after their
drug addiction has cost them their job.
- 35% of arrestees in the Chicago area are "poly-drug" abusers.
Most drug users do not use one illicit drug exclusively. Mixing
several different types of illicit drugs is a common way drug users modify
unwanted drug side-effects or to extend and enhance the intoxicating effects
Poly-Drug Use Statistics
Most drug users are poly-drug users, meaning they
abuse more than one type of drug at the same time.
- A 2005 TEDS report (Treatment Episode Data Set) found 64% of people
seeking drug treatment were poly-drug abusers.
- A 1989 New York Police study found 67% of persons arrested for
driving under the influence of drugs had two or more drugs in their system
OTHER than alcohol
A 1985 Los Angles Police study found 72% of subjects
arrested for driving under the influence of dugs had more than one drug in
their system INCLUDING alcohol.
A 1989 Chicago personal injury crashes found that 54%
of the drivers tested positive for either illicit drugs or alcohol.