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J Subst Abuse. 1996;8(2):195-210.

Prevalence and correlates of drug use and DSM-IV drug dependence in the United States: results of the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey.

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  • 1Division of Biometry and Epidemiology, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, MD 20892-7003, USA.


This study presents updated estimates of the prevalence and examines the correlates of drug use and dependence in a representative sample of the U.S. population. The prevalence of lifetime drug use was 15.6%, with 4.9% of the respondents reporting drug use during the past 12 months. Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of drug dependence were estimated at 2.9% and 0.8%, respectively. Men were significantly more likely to use drugs than women, and drug use and dependence were much more common among cohorts born after World War II. The data indicated that rates of dependence among women were quickly approaching the rates among men in the younger cohorts. Members of the youngest cohort, between the ages of 18 and 24 years at the time of the interview, were more likely to use drugs, to become dependent, and to persist in dependence compared to the older cohorts, including Cohort 2 who experienced adolescence at the height of widespread introduction of illicit drugs among youth in the mid-1960s. The demographic correlates of first use, onset of dependence, and persistence of dependence varied as a function of the stage of progression. Implications of these findings are discussed in terms of changes over time in drugs of choice and dependence liability and vulnerability among recent drug users.

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