Drug Abuse in the Global Village
Drug Abuse in North America
Drug abusers Characteristics in North America

Abusers of illicit drugs are mostly male. Abuse is pronounced among the 20-34 years of age. Abuse of prescription drugs such as tranquilizers, sleeping pills, anti-depressants, diet pills and stimulants are more prevalent among women, especially those over 45 years of age (HWC 1992a).


Abusers of most illicit drugs tend to be male, and rates for Blacks (6.6 per cent) are somewhat higher than for Whites (5.5 per cent) and Hispanics (5.3 per cent). Low education and unemployment remain highly correlated with rates of illicit drug abuse (U.N. 1992).

            In 1991, lifetime prevalence of abuse for any drug was about 55 per cent among people 18 to 25 years of age, about 36 per cent for adults over the age of 26, and 20 per cent for youth between 12-17 years of age. The corresponding annual prevalence was about 29 per cent, 10 per cent, and 15 per cent respectively (NIDA 1991).

            Over half of the abusers of analgesics, amphetamines, sedatives and tranquilizers are female, between 18-34 years of age (U.N. 1992).

            Abusers of inhalents tend to be young males in the 12-17 age range (U.N. 1992).