While the use of illegal drugs in the U.S. is holding steady in general, it more than doubled for middle-aged baby boomers, according to a report by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
The report, sponsored by the US government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and released Wednesday, showed illicit drug use on the rise among American adults aged 50 to 64.
For those 50 to 54, the rate of illicit drug use more than doubled from 3.4 percent in 2002 to 7.2 in 2012.
“Among those aged 60 to 64, the rate increased from 1.1 percent in 2003 to 3.6 percent in 2012,” the study said.
Researchers attribute this trend in part to the fact that “the aging … of members of the baby boom cohort” born between 1946 and 1964.
The most commonly used substance was marijuana, the survey found. Despite some state-level legalization, federally marijuana is Schedule 1 Controlled Substance, along with heroin, LSD, and MDMA – meaning there is “no currently accepted medical use” for the drug.
Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske was happy to see a reduction in the amount of prescription medication abuse in the report.
"For the first time in a decade, we are seeing real and significant reductions in the abuse of prescription drugs in America," Kerlikowske said.
"Expanding prevention, treatment and support for people in recovery for substance use disorders will be our guide as we work to address other emerging challenges," he said.