Illegal Drug Use & Addiction

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) obtains information on illicit drug use by surveying the following categories: marijuana/hashish, cocaine/crack, heroin, hallucinogens, and inhalants. Several drugs are grouped under the hallucinogens category including lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), phencyclidine (PCP), peyote, mescaline, psilocybin mushrooms, and Ecstasy (MDMA). Inhalants include a variety of substances such as nitrous oxide, amyl nitrite, cleaning fluids, gasoline, spray paint, other aerosol sprays, and glue.

Estimates of illicit drug use reported by the NSDUH reflect the use of any of the drug categories listed above. In 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older were current illicit drug users, meaning they had used an illicit drug during the month prior to the survey interview. This estimate represents 9.4% of the population aged 12 or older (Figure 12).37,38

Figure 12. Illicit drug use among persons age 12 or older (2013).

Bar graph of past-month illicit drug use 2013.
Image source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, Nationwide Trends 2015.