skip to main content

COVID-19 Information and Guidance

Research Library

Drug Policy

Drugs By The Numbers

William Martin | Katharine Neill Harris

Drugs By The Numbers.

Since the early 1970s, national surveys have been conducted annually to examine the extent of drug use in America. Yet while the information is available to anyone with a computer, few people appear to know the size or actual contours of drug use in this country, and the data play only a small role in public policy, mass media presentations and popular perception.

Using charts, figures and graphs of this survey data originally created by former career intelligence analyst and current Baker Institute contributing expert Brian C. Bennett and updated by the Drug Policy Program, this issue brief offers an overview of drug use trends in America over the last four decades. The brief is part of a larger Drug Policy Program project chronicling the pattern of the use and abuse of individual drugs over (in most cases) more than 40 years. For the full research project, please visit