January 6, 2023

SAMHSA Issues Results of Substance Use and Mental Health Survey


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) this week released the results of its 2021 Drug Use and Health Survey. The findings reflect the continuing challenges our country faces with millions of Americans of all ages reporting problems with drug and alcohol use and their struggles with mental health issues.

“Every year since 1971, this survey has given us a window into our nation’s mental health and substance use challenges and 2021 was no different. As the findings make clear, millions of Americans young and old faced mental health and substance use challenges – sometimes both at once – during the second year of the pandemic,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a release. “As we work to improve behavioral health across the nation, HHS is committed to ensuring that all people facing mental health or substance use challenges are connected to appropriate services and supports.”

Highlights from the Report

  • 61.2 million people (or 21.9% of the population) aged 12 years or older, used illicit drugs in the past year, with the most commonly used illicit drug being marijuana (52.5 million people).
  • 46.3 million individuals (or 16.5% of the population) met DSM-5 criteria for having a substance use disorder. People between the ages of 18 to 25 were most likely to be diagnosed with a substance use disorder.
  • 94% of those aged 12 years or older who were diagnosed with a substance use disorder did not receive any treatment.
  • Nearly one in four adults reported having had a mental health condition in 2021.
  • One in five adolescents reported a major depressive episode.
  • Close to 1 in 3 adults had either a substance use disorder or any mental illness in the past year, and 46 percent of young adults 18-25 had either a substance use disorder or any mental illness.
  • 7 out of 10 survey respondents with a substance use disorder considered themselves to be in recovery.

Read more about the survey results here.