Drug Free Campus


Problem of Substance Abuse

Definitions of Terms:

Current illicit drug user:  Someone who has used illicit drugs at least once in the last month.
Binge drinking:
  Five or more drinks on one occasion.
Heavy drinking:
  Five or more drinks on five or more occasions in the past month.

Substance abuse places a major burden on all segments of American society, including the workplace.

Return to Top


Alcohol and Drug Abuse in America in 2012
Highlights from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual survey, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration.
 
Illicit Drug Use
  • In 2012, an estimated 23.9 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users, meaning they had used an illicit drug during the month prior to the survey interview. This estimate represents 9.2 percent of the population aged 12 or older. Illicit drugs include marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or prescription-type psychotherapeutics (pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives) used nonmedically.
  • The rate of current illicit drug use among persons aged 12 or older increased from 8.1 percent in 2008 to 9.2 percent in 2012. The rate in 2012 was similar to the rates in 2009 to 2011 (ranging from 8.7 to 8.9 percent), but it was higher than the rates in the years from 2002 to 2008 (ranging from 7.9 to 8.3 percent).
  • Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug. In 2012, there were 18.9 million past month users. Between 2007 and 2012, the rate of current use increased from 5.8 to 7.3 percent, and the number of users increased from 14.5 million to 18.9 million.
  • Daily or almost daily use of marijuana (used on 20 or more days in the past month) increased from 5.1 million persons in 2007 to 7.6 million persons in 2012.
  • In 2012, there were 1.6 million current cocaine users aged 12 or older, comprising 0.6 percent of the population. These estimates were similar to the number and rate in 2011 (1.4 million persons and 0.5 percent), but they were lower than in 2003 to 2007 (e.g., 2.4 million persons and 1.0 percent in 2006).
  • The number of past year heroin users increased between 2007 (373,000) and 2012 (669,000).
  • An estimated 1.1 million persons aged 12 or older in 2012 (0.4 percent) used hallucinogens in the past month. These estimates were similar to the estimates in 2002 to 2011.
  • The percentage of persons aged 12 or older who used prescription-type psychotherapeutic drugs nonmedically in the past month in 2012 (2.6 percent) was similar to the percentage in 2011 (2.4 percent) and all years from 2002 through 2010.
  • The number of past month methamphetamine users decreased between 2006 and 2012, from 731,000 (0.3 percent) to 440,000 (0.2 percent).
  • Among youths aged 12 to 17, the current illicit drug use rate was similar in 2011 (10.1 percent) and 2012 (9.5 percent). The rate declined from 11.6 percent in 2002 to 9.3 percent in 2008, increased to 10.1 percent in 2009, and remained at 10.1 percent in 2010 and 2011.
  • The rate of current marijuana use among youths aged 12 to 17 decreased from 8.2 percent in 2002 to 6.7 percent in 2006, remained unchanged at 6.7 percent in 2007 and 2008, then increased to 7.9 percent in 2011. The rate declined to 7.2 percent in 2012.
  • Among youths aged 12 to 17, the rate of current nonmedical use of prescription-type drugs declined from 4.0 percent in 2002 to 2.8 percent in 2012. The rate of nonmedical pain reliever use declined during this period from 3.2 to 2.2 percent among youths.
  • The rate of current use of illicit drugs among young adults aged 18 to 25 increased from 19.7 percent in 2008 to 21.3 percent in 2012, driven largely by an increase in marijuana use (from 16.6 percent in 2008 to 18.7 percent in 2012).
  • Among young adults aged 18 to 25, the rate of current nonmedical use of prescription-type drugs in 2012 was 5.3 percent, which was similar to the rates in 2010 and 2011, but it was lower than the rate in the years from 2003 to 2007 (ranging from 5.9 to 6.5 percent).
  • There was a decrease from 2005 to 2012 in the use of cocaine among young adults aged 18 to 25, from 2.6 to 1.1 percent.
  • Among adults aged 50 to 64, the rate of current illicit drug use increased during the past decade. For adults aged 50 to 54, the rate increased from 3.4 percent in 2002 to 7.2 percent in 2012. Among those aged 55 to 59, the rate of current illicit drug use increased from 1.9 percent in 2002 to 6.6 percent in 2012. Among those aged 60 to 64, the rate increased from 1.1 percent in 2003 to 3.6 percent in 2012. These trends partially reflect the aging into these age groups of members of the baby boom cohort (i.e., persons born between 1946 and 1964), whose rates of illicit drug use have been higher than those of older cohorts.
  • Among unemployed adults aged 18 or older in 2012, 18.1 percent were current illicit drug users, which was higher than the rates of 8.9 percent for those who were employed full time and 12.5 percent for those who were employed part time. However, most illicit drug users were employed. Of the 21.5 million current illicit drug users aged 18 or older in 2012, 14.6 million (67.9 percent) were employed either full or part time.
  • In 2012, 10.3 million persons aged 12 or older reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the past year. This corresponds to 3.9 percent of the population aged 12 or older, which was higher than the rate in 2011 (3.7 percent). The rate had declined steadily between 2002 and 2011, from 4.7 to 3.7 percent, before increasing in 2012. In 2012, the rate was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (11.9 percent).
  • Among persons aged 12 or older in 2011-2012 who used pain relievers nonmedically in the past 12 months, 54.0 percent got the drug they used most recently from a friend or relative for free, and 10.9 percent bought the drug from a friend or relative. Another 19.7 percent reported that they got the drug through a prescription from one doctor. An annual average of 4.3 percent got pain relievers from a drug dealer or other stranger, and 0.2 percent bought them on the Internet.

Alcohol Use

  • Slightly more than half (52.1 percent) of Americans aged 12 or older reported being current drinkers of alcohol in the 2012 survey, which was similar to the rate in 2011 (51.8 percent). This translates to an estimated 135.5 million current drinkers in 2012.
  • In 2012, nearly one quarter (23.0 percent) of persons aged 12 or older were binge alcohol users in the past 30 days. This translates to about 59.7 million people. The rate in 2012 was similar to the estimate in 2011 (22.6 percent). Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the 30 days prior to the survey.
  • In 2012, heavy drinking was reported by 6.5 percent of the population aged 12 or older, or 17.0 million people. This rate was similar to the rate of heavy drinking in 2011 (6.2 percent). Heavy drinking is defined as binge drinking on at least 5 days in the past 30 days.
  • Among young adults aged 18 to 25 in 2012, the rate of binge drinking was 39.5 percent, and the rate of heavy drinking was 12.7 percent. These rates were similar to the corresponding rates in 2011 (39.8 and 12.1 percent, respectively).
  • The rate of current alcohol use among youths aged 12 to 17 was 12.9 percent in 2012. Youth binge and heavy drinking rates in 2012 were 7.2 and 1.3 percent, respectively. These rates were all similar to those reported in 2011 (13.3, 7.4, and 1.5 percent, respectively).
  • In 2012, an estimated 11.2 percent of persons aged 12 or older drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year. This percentage was lower than in 2002, when it was 14.2 percent, but it was similar to the rate in 2011 (11.1 percent). Among persons aged 18 to 25, the rate of driving under the influence of alcohol decreased steadily between 2002 and 2011 (from 26.6 to 18.6 percent), but it did not change from 2011 to 2012 (18.4 percent).
  • An estimated 9.3 million underage persons (aged 12 to 20) were current drinkers in 2012, including 5.9 million binge drinkers and 1.7 million heavy drinkers.
  • Past month, binge, and heavy drinking rates among underage persons declined between 2002 and 2012. Past month alcohol use declined from 28.8 to 24.3 percent, binge drinking declined from 19.3 to 15.3 percent, and heavy drinking declined from 6.2 to 4.3 percent.
  • In 2012, 54.4 percent of current underage drinkers reported that their last use of alcohol occurred in someone else's home, and 31.4 percent reported that it had occurred in their own home. Among current underage drinkers, 28.2 percent paid for the alcohol the last time they drank, including 7.6 percent who purchased the alcohol themselves and 20.4 percent who gave money to someone else to purchase it. Among those who did not pay for the alcohol they last drank, 36.6 percent got it from an unrelated person aged 21 or older, 23.0 percent got it from a parent, guardian, or other adult family member, and 18.8 percent got it from another person younger than 21 years old.

Highlights from earlier years are located on the Drug Free Campus Archive.

Return to Top

East Tennessee State University Policy Statement on Drug Free Campus

It is the policy of this university that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, possession, use of alcohol and illicit drugs on the ETSU campus in the workplace (on or off campus), on property owned or controlled by ETSU, or as part of any activity of ETSU is strictly prohibited.  All employees and students are subject to applicable federal, state and local laws related to this matter. Additionally, any violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action.

For complete policy information, see ETSU's Policy Statement on Drug Free Campus, PPP-26

Return to Top


Health Risks Associated With the Use of Illicit Drugs and the Abuse of Alcohol

There are many health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol including organic damage; impairment of brain activity, digestion, and blood circulation; impairment of physiological processes and mental functioning; and, physical and psychological dependence.  Such use during pregnancy may cause spontaneous abortion, various birth defects or fetal alcohol syndrome.  Additionally, the illicit use of drugs increases the risk of contracting hepatitis, AIDS and other infections.  If used excessively, the use of alcohol or drugs singularly or in certain combinations may cause death.

Return to Top


Helpful websites: 

(ETSU is not responsible for off-campus site content)


Available Drug and Alcohol Counseling, Treatment, Rehabilitation Programs, and Employee Assistance Programs

(ETSU is not responsible for off-campus site content)

Partners for Health
(TTY)
(855) 437-3486
(800) 456-4006
Employee Assistance Program (423) 439-5825
ETSU Department of Public Safety (423) 439-4480

Alcoholics Anonymous  (24-Hour Hotline)

(423) 928-0871
Comprehensive Community Services
(Alcohol & Drug  Counseling & Prevention Center)
(423) 928-6581
Woodridge Hospital (423) 431-7111
Watauga Mental Health Center (Frontier Health)
24-Hour Helpline
(423) 467-3600
(877) 928-9062
Alcoholics Anonymous - East Tennessee Information (865) 974-9888

Return to Top