January 01, 2018

Prevalence, Causes, and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders: A Primer

By Spencer Bujarski, Aaron C. Lim, and Lara A. Ray

Substance use disorders are common and costly psychiatric disorders. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 51.3 million Americans aged 12 or older were current cigarette smokers, 136.7 million people were current alcohol drinkers, and 28.6 million people reported using an illicit drug in the past 30 days. Among illicit drugs, marijuana use was most common (24 million), followed by prescription pain relievers (3.3 million). While cigarette smoking has become less prevalent in recent years, illicit drug and alcohol use has increased.

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