Illicit Drugs

Illicit Drugs

Illicit Drugs

Illicit Drugs


This concise, up-to-date volume compiles information and materials documenting illicit drugs and their use from multiple perspectives.

• A chronology of significant events, decisions, policies, and agreements about illicit drug use in the United States from 1872 to the present

• Graphs and tables about illicit drug use patterns and problems

• A world map depicting the distribution of problem drugs throughout the world

• A glossary of key terms about drug use and abuse

• A bibliography of significant reference materials addressing illicit drug use


Illicit drug use is a deeply imbedded characteristic of most societies. Its effects are shown in the form of illness, death, crime and violence, terrorism, police action and imprisonment, property confiscation, massive allocations of government resources, and many other ways of human suffering.

Worldwide, 200 million people, or 5 percent of the adult population, use illicit drugs—including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, and more—at least once a year. In spite of its connection to crime and terrorism, the production, trafficking, and consumption of illicit drugs continues to be a major international problem.

In the United States, the scope and impact of illicit drug use are profound. It is estimated that nearly 20 million people, or 8 percent of the adult population aged 12 years or older, are current (i.e., within the past month) illicit drug users. About 10 million people drive under the influence of illicit drugs annually. Among the 7.5 million persons, or 3 percent of the population, needing treatment for illicit drug use, nearly 80 percent do not receive it, and the main reason is that they do not have health coverage or cannot afford to pay for the cost. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world—one in every 131 U.S. residents—and a large percentage have illicit drug use problems and have violated drug laws and/or committed an offense while under the influence of drugs.

The economic impact of illicit drug use—including the cost of health care, social services, and criminal justice systems; losses due to crime, the costs of premature death and disability; and the amount spent on prevention, treatment and law enforcement—is enormous at more than $300 billion . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.