Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2001 . Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 6. Adult Alcohol and Substance Abuse

03/01/2001

Figure WORK 6. Percentage of Adults Who Used Cocaine or Marijuana or Abused Alcohol, by Age: 1999

Figure WORK 6. Percentage of Adults Who Used Cocaine or Marijuana or Abused Alcohol, by Age: 1999

Source:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.


  • In 1999, young adults (ages 18 to 25) were more likely than other adults to report cocaine use, marijuana use, or alcohol abuse in the past month.  About one in six (16 percent) of adults 18 to 25 reported using marijuana in the past month, compared with 6 percent of adults 26 to 34 and 3 percent of adults 35 and older.  Young adults were also significantly more likely to abuse alcohol than older adults.

  • The percentages of persons reporting binge alcohol use were significantly larger than the percentages for all other reported behaviors, across all age groups and for all years with reports on alcohol use, as shown in Table WORK 6.

  • Use of marijuana and cocaine has decreased across all age groups over the past twenty years.  For example, reported cocaine use among adults ages 18 to 25 fell from 10 percent in 1979 to 2 percent in 1999; marijuana use fell from 36 percent in 1979 to 16 percent in 1999.  There has been a much smaller decline in the use of alcohol since 1985.

Table WORK 6. Percentage of Adults Who Used Cocaine or Marijuana or Abused Alcohol, by Age: Selected Years

  1979 1985 1988 1991 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Cocaine                    
Ages 18-25 9.9 8.1 4.8 2.2 1.2 1.0 2.0 1.2 2.0 1.9
Ages 26-34 3.0 6.3 2.8 1.9 1.3 1.2 1.5 0.9 1.2 1.0
Age 35 and Over 0.2 0.5 0.4 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.6
Marijuana                    
Ages 18-25 35.6 21.7 15.3 12.9 12.1 12.0 13.2 12.8 13.8 16.4
Ages 26-34 19.7 19.0 12.3 7.7 6.9 6.7 6.3 6.0 5.5 6.4
Age 35 and Over 2.9 2.6 1.8 2.6 2.3 1.8 2.0 2.6 2.5 2.5
Binge Alcohol Use                    
Ages 18-25 N/A 34.4 28.2 31.2 33.6 29.9 32.0 28.0 31.7 31.1
Ages 26-34 N/A 27.5 19.7 21.5 24.0 24.0 22.8 23.1 22.0 21.9
Age 35 and Over N/A 12.9 9.7 10.1 11.8 11.8 11.3 11.7 11.9 11.3
Heavy Alcohol Use                    
Ages 18-25 N/A 13.8 12.0 15.2 13.2 12.0 12.9 11.1 13.8 13.0
Ages 26-34 N/A 11.5 7.1 7.9 8.0 7.9 7.1 7.5 7.2 6.9
Age 35 and Over N/A 5.2 4.0 4.4 4.8 3.9 3.8 4.0 4.4 4.3

Note:  Cocaine and marijuana use is defined as use during the past month.  “Binge" Alcohol Use is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least one day in the past 30 days.  "Occasion" means at the same time or within a couple hours of each other.  Heavy Alcohol Use is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on each of five or more days in the past 30 days; all Heavy Alcohol Users are also "Binge" Alcohol Users.

Source:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.

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