Posts Tagged ‘NSDUH 2014 report’

It’s That Time of Year! NSDUH is Here!

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Data from the 2014 survey of NSDUH (National Survey on Drug Use and Health) was released this month, as it is every year, in time to celebrate National Recovery Month of September: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf

It’s mildly interesting reading; I saw no dramatic changes in the area of opioid addiction.

The number of non-medical users of prescription opioids remained roughly the same as last year, at 4.3 million people over the age of 12. That’s lower than in years 2001-2011. Overall, we may be seeing a slow trend downward. Also, there was a decline in users aged 18-25. Maybe current addicts are aging, and being counted in the next ago group 26 and older, but that next age group didn’t have a large increase this year or last. Maybe fewer youngsters are starting pain pill use, since they see the problems with opioid use in their older friends and acquaintances.

Heroin use is increasing, as has been discussed in this blog recently. However, according to NSDUH, though the total number of users increased, it only increased .1 percent. In total, an estimated 435,000 people over age 12 in the U.S. are current heroin users. I do suspect the upward trend will be more dramatic in future years, unfortunately.

The number of current marijuana users age 12 and older continued to gradually increase, with 22.2 million current users of marijuana and hashish. This is about 8.4% of the U.S. population over age 12. That number is not significantly higher than in 2013.

How accurate is NSDUH data? If anything, it likely underestimates the number of drug users. It surveys people living in households, at fixed addresses. It does not survey the homeless or those in jails, hospitals or other institutions. It also does not survey military personnel. People in some of these groups, particularly the homeless and the imprisoned, have high rates of drug addiction, so NSDUH is probably underestimating the prevalence of addiction.

However, this is the best yearly study we have available in the U.S.