New Survey’s Significant Findings
The following highlights are presented in the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). For full details, download the 2008 NSDUH.
- In 2008, an estimated 20.1 million Americans age 12 or older used illicit drugs in the past month—this estimate represents 8.0 percent of the population of this age group. The rate of current illicit drug use among this age group was also 8.0 percent in 2007.
- Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug (15.2 million past-month users). Among people age 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).
- Slightly more than half (51.6 percent) of Americans age 12 or older reported being current drinkers of alcohol in the 2008 survey. This translates to an estimated 129.0 million people, which is similar to the 2007 estimate (51.1 percent).
- In 2008, an estimated 70.9 million Americans age 12 or older used tobacco in the past month. That represents 28.4 percent of the population in that age range.
- There were an estimated 9.8 million adults age 18 or older with serious mental illness, representing 4.4 percent of adults.
- Among 12- to 17-year-olds, there was a significant decline in overall past-month illicit drug use, from 11.6 percent in 2002 to 9.3 percent in 2008.
- There have been significant decreases in the current use of alcohol, cigarettes, and nonmedical use of prescription drugs since 2007; the rate of current marijuana use among youth has remained stable.
- Nonmedical use of prescription drugs among this age group dropped from 3.3 percent in 2007 to 2.9 percent in 2008.
- Over the past 3 years, there has been a steady drop in the rate of heavy alcohol use by full-time college students age 18 to 22—from a high of 19.5 percent in 2005 to 16.3 percent in 2008.
- From 2002 to 2008, there were declines in past-month cocaine use, inhalant use, nonmedical use of stimulants, and methamphetamine use among people age 18 to 25. However, over the same period, there were increases in the current use of pain relievers and LSD.
- The misuse of prescription drugs decreased significantly between 2007 and 2008 among those age 12 and older, including among adolescents.
- Past-month methamphetamine use among those age 12 and older dropped sharply from approximately 529,000 people in 2007 to 314,000 in 2008.
- The level of current cocaine use among the population age 12 and older has decreased from 1.0 percent in 2006 to 0.7 percent in 2008.
For more information, download the 2008 NSDUH.