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10 Percent of Americans Report Using Illicit Drugs

Update Date: Sep 05, 2014 11:55 AM EDT

Marijuana is the most widely used drug within the United States, a new report conducted by U.S. health officials found. The report also discovered that nearly 10 percent of all Americans aged 12 and above have used illicit drugs in 2013.

For this U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report, the researchers used data taken from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Overall, they found that nearly 20 million people admitted to using marijuana. Over the past few years, marijuana has been legalized in some states for medical purposes. In Colorado and Washington, however, the substance has been legalized for recreational purposes.

On the lower end of the spectrum, 4.5 million people reported using prescription painkillers for nonmedical reasons, 1.5 million people admitted to using cocaine, 595,000 people used methamphetamine and 289,000 million used heroin. The report added that nearly 23 million Americans needed treatment for drug or alcohol use. However, only 2.5 million ended up getting help.

"As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of National Recovery Month our nation can be proud of the strides made in successfully promoting the power of recovery from mental and substance use disorders," SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde said in a government news release reported by Medical Xpress. "However, throughout our nation thousands still needlessly suffer the ravages of untreated substance use and mental disorders. We must reach out to all people with unmet need so that they can return to lives full of hope, well-being and fulfillment."

In 2013, more than 14 percent of American adults reported getting mental health counseling. Roughly 10 million adults reported suffering from a serious mental health disorder that negatively affected a major life activity. Overall, about 44 million people had a mental illness.

Michael Botticelli, acting director of National Drug Control Policy, added, "We must continue to use that voice to share our triumphs and our challenges, and show the world that millions of us are leading happy, healthy, productive lives in long-term recovery. Each recovery story we tell chips away at the misconceptions that keep someone struggling with an addictive disorder from asking for help."

The report, "Substance Use and Mental Health Estimates from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health-Overview of Findings," can be accessed here.

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