America’s Aging Drug Habit


Baby boomers are the driving force behind a rise in illicit drug use among Americans between the ages of 50 and 64, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an annual survey of about 67,500 people nationwide.

Among respondents aged 50 to 54, those reporting using illegal drugs during the 30 days prior to the survey more than doubled in the past decade from 3.4 percent in 2002 to 7.2 percent in 2012.

Among those aged 55 to 59, the rate of illicit more than tripled from 1.9 percent in 2002 to 6.6 percent in 2012. The 60-to 64 age group saw a similar increase, from 1.1 percent in 2003 to 3.6 percent in 2012.

The report estimates that about 9.2 percent of Americans were illicit drug users in 2012, up from 8.1 percent four years earlier. Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug.

While overall drug use and marijuana use are on the rise, methamphetamine use has declined dramatically. In 2006, an estimated 731,000 Americans, or 0.3 percent of the population, were methamphetamine users; the report estimates that figure dropped to 440,000, or 0.2 percent, in 2012.

Read the full report HERE.

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