Page 95

TABLE 3.4 Prevalence of Drug Use and Dependencea in the General Population

Drug Category

Proportion That Have
Ever Used (%"/)

Proportion of Users That
Ever Became Dependent (%)







Marijuana (including hashish)



Anxiolytics (including sedatives and hypnotic drugs)









aDiagnosis of drug dependence used in this study based on DSM-III-R criteria.2

bThe percentage of people who ever used marijuana is higher than that reported by the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (32%), probably due to different survey methods (for discussion, see Kandel, 199276).

SOURCE: Adapted from Table 2 in Anthony and co-workers (1994).8

and Hispanic whites was not significant), and people 25-44 years old are more than three times as likely as those over 45 years old to become drug dependent.

More often than not, drug dependence co-occurs with other psychiatric disorders. Most people with a diagnosis of drug dependence disorder also have a diagnosis of a another psychiatric disorder (76% of men and 65% of women).76 The most frequent co-occurring disorder is alcohol abuse; 60% of men and 30% of women with a diagnosis of drug dependence also abuse alcohol. In women who are drug dependent, phobic disorders and major depression are almost equally common (29% and 28%, respectively). Note that this study distinguished only between alcohol, nicotine and "other drugs"; marijuana was grouped among "other drugs." The frequency with which drug dependence and other psychiatric disorders co-occur might not be the same for marijuana and other drugs that were included in that category.

A strong association between drug dependence and antisocial personality or its precursor, conduct disorder, is also widely reported in children and adults (reviewed in 1998 by Robins126). Although the causes of the association are uncertain, Robins recently concluded that it is more likely that conduct disorders generally lead to substance abuse than the reverse.126 Such a trend might, however, depend on the age at which the conduct disorder is manifested.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement