New report reveals heavy toll of mental health and substance use in U.S.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the results of its annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), which shows how people living in America reported about their experience with mental health conditions, substance use, and pursuit of treatment in 2021. The 2021 NSDUH national report includes selected estimates by race, ethnicity, and age group. It is the most comprehensive report on substance use and mental health indicators that SAMHSA has released to date.

Key findings from the 2021 report include:

  • Nearly two in five young adults ages 18-25 used illicit drugs in the past year.
  • 9.2 million people 12 and older misused opioids.
  • 46.3 million people ages 12 or older (16.5 percent of the population) met diagnostic criteria for having a substance use disorder. Young adults ages 18-25 had the highest rate of substance use disorders.
  • One in five adolescents had a major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year. The prevalence of MDE was lower among black and Asian adolescents. Over half of youth with an MDE did not receive treatment.
  • Four million youth ages 12 to 17 had serious thoughts of suicide, made suicide plans, or attempted suicide in the past year.
  • One in three young adults ages 18-25 had a mental illness in the past year.
  • 13.5 percent of young adults aged 18-25 had a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness in the past year.

Review more key findings from the 2021 NSDUH national report.