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What age group is most likely to use illegal drugs?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
Recent use of illicit substances is most common among people in their mid-teens to mid-20s. Given the age distribution of substance use, it's not surprising that the rates of substance abuse and dependence were highest among people ages 18 to 25. Roughly 23% of people in that age group had problems with abuse and dependence, compared with just under 9% of the general population. During 2010, about one in five people ages 18 to 20 admitted using illicit drugs during the past month. This rate declines as people grow older.

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