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Use Statistics



Designer Drugs





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 age 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 cocaine.
  • 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 addiction.
  • 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 codeine

  • Alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, ale, and distilled liquors

  • Chemical solvents such as spray paint, glue, and gasoline

  • 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 non-medically."     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 Statistics

  • 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 methamphetamine combined!
  • 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 roadways.”
  • 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 the crash!
  • 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 heroin.
  • 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 fatigued.
  • 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 country.
  • 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 of drugs.


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.