Illicit drug use is a widespread problem in the United States. An estimated 23.9 million Americans aged 12 or older, or 9.2 percent of this age group, used illicit drugs in the past month. This includes the use of marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, and inhalants, as well as the nonmedical use of prescription-type pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives.
Of these drugs, marijuana is the most common – it’s used by 18.9 million Americans. From 2007 to 2012, the rate of use in the past month increased from 5.8 to 7.3%. This corresponds to an increase from 14.5 million to 18.9 million marijuana users.
The second most common form of illicit drug use is the nonmedical use of prescription drugs; 6.8 million Americans use prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes.
If you are needing to dispose of your old prescription medication, there is a permanent drop-box in the lobby of the Rapid City Police Department where you can leave old medications.
Most young people refrain from using illicit drugs, but an estimated 1 in 10 youth aged 12 to 17 are illicit drug users; and 7.2 percent of this age group uses marijuana. Drug use among people of all ages is dangerous because it can lead to addiction, reduced self-control, and impaired decision-making, in addition to other serious consequences. Some drugs can alter the brain in ways that persist after the person has stopped taking drugs, and which may even be permanent.
Learn what you can do to help protect your loved ones and community by downloading the Fact Sheet for Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug and Marijuana Use in the U.S. [pdf].
- SAMHSA’s Treatment Locator – A searchable directory of drug and alcohol treatment programs. The Treatment Locator shows the location of facilities around the country that treat drug abuse and alcohol problems.
- “Above the Influence” campaign – A resource from The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the campaign website provides materials and information directed toward teens.
- NIDA for Teens – A resource from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) that offers facts for teens about prescription drug abuse and illicit drug use. NIDA InfoFacts also provides updated information on the health effects of specific drugs, including club drugs and herbal mixtures.
- Ignoring Instructions: The Importance of Using Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications Properly – SAMHSA’s Road to Recovery Webcast gives an overview of prescription drug abuse and discusses people who are at risk.