First Time Users of Pain Relievers Continue to Surpass All Other Drugs; Number of New Ecstasy and Stimulant Users Increases

Source: CESARFax, 9/17/2007

More than 2.1 million persons ages 12 or older used prescription-type pain relievers for the first time in 2006,according to recently released data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). While the number of new users of pain relievers has been decreasing since 2003, it continues to be the drug category with the largest number of new initiates since surpassing marijuana in 2002. The number of first-time marijuana users has declined significantly, from nearly 3.0million in in 2000 to slightly more than 2.0 million in 2006. Other recent changes in the initiation of illicit drugs include increases in the number of first time ecstasy users (from 615,000 in 2005 to 860,000 in 2006) and in the number of first-time nonmedical users of prescription-type stimulants*(from 647,000 to 845,000). Previous research has found that changes in initiation levels “are often leading indicators of emerging patterns of substance use”(p. 49).

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