According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) – 2014 (PDF | 3.4 MB) , about two-thirds (66.6%) of people aged 12 or older reported in 2014 that they drank alcohol in the past 12 months, with 6.4% meeting criteria for an alcohol use disorder. Also among Americans aged 12 or older, the use of illicit drugs has increased over the last decade from 8.3% of the population using illicit drugs in the past month in 2002 to 10.2% (27 million people) in 2014. Of those, 7.1 million people met criteria for an illicit drug use disorder in the past year. The misuse of prescription drugs is second only to marijuana as the nation’s most common drug problem after alcohol and tobacco, leading to troubling increases in opioid overdoses in the past decade. An estimated 25.2% (66.9 million) of Americans aged 12 or older were current users of a tobacco product. While tobacco use has declined since 2002 for the general population, this has not been the case for people with serious mental illness where tobacco use remains a major cause of morbidity and early death.
This publication presents national estimates of drug-related visits to hospital emergency departments (EDs) for the calendar year 2011, based on data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN). Also presented are comparisons of 2011 estimates with those for 2004, 2009, and 2010. DAWN is a public health surveillance system that monitors drug-related ED visits for the Nation and for selected metropolitan areas. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is the agency responsible for DAWN. SAMHSA is required to collect data on drug-related ED visits under Section 505 of the Public Health Service Act.
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