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Past Month Use of Selected Illicit Drugs among Persons Aged 12 or Older: 2002-2009


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Office of Applied Studies

Figure 2.2

+ Difference between this estimate and the 2009 estimate is statistically significant at the .05 level.

  • Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug (16.7 million past month users). In 2009, marijuana was used by 76.6 percent of current illicit drug users and was the only drug used by 58.0 percent of them. Illicit drugs other than marijuana were used by 9.2 million persons or 42.0 percent of illicit drug users aged 12 or older. Current use of other drugs but not marijuana was reported by 23.4 percent of illicit drug users, and 18.6 percent used both marijuana and other drugs.
  • Among persons aged 12 or older, the rate of past month marijuana use and the number of users in 2009 (6.6 percent or 16.7 million) were higher than in 2008 (6.1 percent or 15.2 million) and in 2007 (5.8 percent or 14.4 million) (Figure 2.2).
  • An estimated 9.2 million people aged 12 or older (3.6 percent) were current users of illicit drugs other than marijuana in 2009. The majority of these (7.0 million persons or 2.8 percent of the population) used psychotherapeutic drugs nonmedically in the past month. An estimated 5.3 million persons used pain relievers nonmedically in the past month in 2009, 2.0 million used tranquilizers, 1.3 million used stimulants, and 370,000 used sedatives.
  • The number and percentage of current nonmedical users of psychotherapeutic drugs in 2009 (7.0 million or 2.8 percent) were higher than in 2008 (6.2 million or 2.5 percent) (Figure 2.2). Small but statistically significant increases in the percentage using stimulants (from 0.4 percent in 2008 to 0.5 percent in 2009) and sedatives (from 0.09 to 0.15 percent) contributed to this increase, along with a small increase for pain relievers (from 1.9 to 2.1 percent) that was not statistically significant (Figure 2.3). Though higher than in 2008, the 2009 rates for any psychotherapeutic drug use were similar to those in 2007 (6.9 million or 2.8 percent).