The use of illicit drugs among Americans increased between 2008 and 2010 according to a national survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that 22.6 million Americans 12 or older (8.9-percent of the population) were current illicit drug users. The rate of use in 2010 was similar to the rate in 2009 (8.7-percent), but remained above the 2008 rate (8- percent).
An increased rate in the current use of marijuana seems to be one of the prime factors in the overall rise in illicit drug use. In 2010, 17.4 million Americans were current users of marijuana – compared to 14.4 million in 2007. This represents an increase in the rate of current marijuana use in the population 12 and older from 5.8-percent in 2007 to 6.9-percent in 2010.
Another disturbing trend is the continuing rise in the rate of current illicit drug use among young adults aged 18 to 25 — from 19.6-percent in 2008 to 21.2-percent in 2009 and 21.5-percent in 2010. This increase was also driven in large part by a rise in the rate of current marijuana use among this population.