DefinitionPercentage of adults (18+, 18-25, and 26+ years of age) who reported having used an illicit drug (marijuana, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, and methamphetamine, as well as the misuse of prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives) in the past month (current use) on the [https://nsduhweb.rti.org/respweb/project_description.html National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)]. Adults reporting only alcohol use are not considered a positive response.
NumeratorWeighted number of adults (18+, 18-25, and 26+) on the NSDUH who reported having ever used an illicit drug in their lifetime. Responses of having used alcohol only are not considered positive responses for illicit drug use.
DenominatorWeighted number of adults (18+, 18-25, and 26+) with complete and valid responses for the questions on the NSDUH.
Data Interpretation IssuesThe [https://nsduhweb.rti.org/respweb/project_description.html National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)] is a nationally standardized survey that has been performed since 1971. The NSDUH is completed annually using a sample from the U.S. civilian, noninstitutionalized population aged 12 or older. In 1999, the sample design expanded to include all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In 2002, the name of the survey was changed from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) to the NSDUH. Information on background and methodology of the NSDUH, managed by [http://www.samhsa.gov/ The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)], can be found at [http://www.samhsa.gov/].
Recent data are predominantly from the 2-year averages of NSDUH surveys from Population Data - NSDUH at [https://www.samhsa.gov/data/population-data-nsduh/reports?tab=33]. Historic data with maps and data downloads are available from the small area estimates website for state and national NSDUH surveys at: [http://pdas.samhsa.gov/saes/state].
The NSDUH questionnaire underwent a partial redesign in 2015, in which methodological changes were made to the measurement of 7 of the 10 illicit drug categories--hallucinogens, inhalants, methamphetamine, and prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. Due to these changes, data for lifetime, past year, and past month measures of any illicit drug use and the use of any illicit drug other than marijuana are not comparable to data prior to 2015. As a result, trends going back to 2002 for these overall illicit drug measures will not be available and new baselines will begin with 2015.^1^[[br]][[br]]
1. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of the Effects of the 2015 NSDUH Questionnaire Redesign: Implications for Data Users. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-TrendBreak-2015.pdf.
Why Is This Important?In 2016, approximately 28.6 million (10.6%) people 12 years of age and older in the U.S. were current illicit drugs users, meaning they used an illicit drug in the month prior to completing the NSDUH survey.^3^ Young adults (18 to 25 years of age) reported the highest prevalence of illicit drug use at 23.2%, suggesting that nearly 1 in 4 American young adults currently use illicit drugs. Adults 26 and older reported a prevalence of 8.9%.^3^
2. Consequences of Illegal Drug Use. 1999 National Drug Control Strategy. Office of the National Drug Control Profile. Executive Office of the President of the United States. [https://www.ncjrs.gov/ondcppubs/publications/policy/99ndcs/ii-b.html]. Accessed May 3, 2017.
3. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. [https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR1-2016/NSDUH-FFR1-2016.htm#illicit]. Accessed May 3, 2018.
Healthy People Objective: Reduce the proportion of adults reporting use of any illicit drug during the past 30 daysU.S. Target: 7.1 percent
How Are We Doing?In 2015-2016, an estimated 18.1% of Alaskans aged 18 years or older used illicit drugs. During the same time period, almost a third (29.8%) of your adults 18-25 years of age in Alaska reported using illicit drugs, and 16.0% of Alaskans aged 26 years or older reported illicit drug use.
Marijuana is included in the measure of illicit drug use on the NSDUH, although personal recreational marijuana use and possession was legalized in Alaska for adults 21 years or older in 2015. In 2015-2016, 14.8% of Alaskans 18 years or older were current marijuana users while 3.9% were current users of an illicit drug other than marijuana. Young adults (18-25 years of age) reported the highest use of both marijuana and other illicit drugs, with 25.0% reporting past month marijuana use and 8.0% reporting past month use of another illicit drug in 2015-2016.
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?Alaska's prevalence of adult illicit drug use has historically been higher than the U.S. average, and in 2015-2016, the percentage of adults who were current illicit drug users was significantly higher in Alaska than nationwide for all age categories (18+, 18-25, and 26+ years of age). The prevalence of marijuana use was also significantly higher in Alaska than in the U.S. as a whole for all age categories. There were no significant differences between Alaska and the U.S. in the use of illicit drugs other than marijuana.
What Is Being Done?The State of Alaska Epidemiologic Profile on Substance Use, Abuse and Dependency is available at: [http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/injury/Documents/sa/SubstanceAbuseEpiProfile_2013.pdf]. This profile provides a more detailed report on the status of substance use and abuse in Alaska.
The State of Alaska also provides websites on both marijuana and opioid use through Health and Social Services. Please use the following link to access more information about the use of those specific illicit drugs: [[br]]
Evidence-based PracticesSAMHSA maintains a website that collects the latest in substance abuse prevention evidence based practices. The link to the information can be found at: [http://www.samhsa.gov/ebp-web-guide/substance-abuse-prevention].