Latest Drug Abuse Research

Latest Drug Abuse Results:

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is the country’s most widely respected  authority on drug abuse in America. It just released the latest drug abuse results based on Americans age 12 and older.

The latest drug abuse results paint an alarming picture.  Drug abuse and its attendant health problems continue their upswing, unabated.

Americans using illicit drugs grew from 47.7 million to 57.2 million in the past 4 years. These numbers were reported pre-COVID.  So, it is likely that the stresses caused by Covid may accelerate the growth of drug abuse even more rapidly.

Now, more than ever, employers and parents need to be vigilant in their stand against drug abuse.


The second-most widely-abused drug category, Opiates remain the leading cause of drug-related deaths in  America.  And, the latest drug abuse research indicates that over 10 million Americans misused opiates last year.  Prescription pain killers represent the majority of abused opiates.  Examples include: hydrocodone, oxycodone, tramadol, morphine, codeine and methadone.


Not surprisingly, the decriminalization of marijuana in many states has driven a dramatic increase in usage; especially among youths.  Marijuana continues as the number one most widely-abused drug category.  Users have almost doubled from 26 million in 2002 to over 48 million in 2019.  Daily usage continues to rise.


The latest drug abuse research reports that cocaine usage stands at around 5.5 million Americans.  Methamphetamine use continues to rise; especially among adults over age 25.  Two million Americans use methamphetamine.  Adolescent use of LSD is on the rise.

Drug Abuse in the Workplace:

The latest Drug Abuse Research reports that workplace drug abuse has hit a 16-year high.  Marijuana use has doubled.  Methamphetamine increased 12% in the past 5 years.  Substance abuse and mental disorders continue to be closely linked.

Drug abuse in the workplace can result in astronomical employer costs.  That’s because it results in  workplace accidents, excess tardiness and turnover, employee theft, workers’ comp, and lower productivity.

Employers can do two things to help protect themselves.  First, be sure to have a comprehensive Drugfree Workplace Policy in place.  Secondly, be sure to have your supervisors and managers trained on how to recognize and handle impaired employees.  Handling a suspected impaired employee improperly can cause huge penalties.

For more on supervisor drug abuse training, see .