Misuse of Prescription Drugs Research Report
What is the scope of prescription drug misuse in the United States?

All data refer to the United States population.

How many people misuse prescription drugs?

Among people aged 12 or older in 2021:

  • 5.1% (or about 14.3 million people) reported misusing any prescription psychotherapeutic drug in the past 12 months (2021 DT 1.1).
  • 1.3% (or about 3.7 million people) reported misusing prescription stimulants in the past 12 months (2021 DT 1.1).
  • 1.7% (or about 4.9 million people) reported misusing prescription tranquilizers or sedatives in the past 12 months (2021 DT 1.1).
  • 1.4% (or about 3.9 million people) reported misusing benzodiazepines in the past 12 months (2021 DT 1.1).
  • 3.1% (or about 8.7 million people) reported misusing prescription pain relievers in the past 12 months (2021 DT 1.1).

Source: 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health*

How many young students misuse prescription drugs?

Among young people in 2022:

  • An estimated 5% of 12th graders reported misusing any prescription drug in the past 12 months.
  • An estimated 3.2% of 8th graders, 3.1% of 10th graders, and 2.9% of 12th graders reported misusing amphetamines in the past 12 months.
  • An estimated 0.7% of 8th graders, 0.7% of 10th graders, and 1.1% of 12th graders reported misusing Ritalinin the past 12 months.
  • An estimated 2.3% of 8th graders, 2.9% of 10th graders, and 3.4% of 12th graders reported misusing Adderall in the past 12 months.
  • An estimated 2% of 12th graders reported misusing sedatives (barbiturates) in the past 12 months.
  • An estimated 1.4% of 8th graders, 1.5% of 10th graders, and 1.5% of 12th graders reported misusing tranquilizers in the past 12 months.
  • An estimated 1.7% of 12th graders reported misusing narcotics other than heroin in the past 12 months.
  • An estimated 0.7% of 8th graders, 0.9% of 10th graders, and 1.9% of 12th graders reported misusing OxyContinin the past 12 months.
  • An estimated 0.7% of 8th graders, 1% of 10th graders, and 1.3% of 12th graders reported misusing Vicodinin the past 12 months.

Source: 2022 Monitoring the Future Survey

How many people have a prescription stimulant use disorder

  • Among people aged 12 or older in 2021, an estimated 0.5% (or about 1.5 million people) had a prescription stimulant use disorder in the past 12 months (2021 DT 5.1).
    Source: 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health*

How many people have a prescription tranquilizer or sedative use disorder?

  • Among people aged 12 or older in 2021, an estimated 0.8% (or about 2.2 million people) had a prescription tranquilizer or sedative use disorder in the past 12 months (2021 DT 5.1).
    Source: 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health*

How many people have a prescription opioid use disorder?

  • Among people aged 12 or older in 2021, an estimated 1.8% (or about 5.0 million people) had a prescription opioid use disorder in the past 12 months (2021 DT 5.1).
    Source: 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health*

How many people die from prescription opioids?

How many people die from benzodiazepines?

How many people die from antidepressants?

*The COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on data collection for the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). For more information, please see the 2021 NSDUH Frequently Asked Questions from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.