A new U.S. survey has shown that the use of cocaine and methamphetamine among young adults in the United States had fell significantly in 2007 while abuse of prescription drugs increased dramatically.

The 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health included over 67,000 Americans and found that from 2006 to 2007, cocaine use among adults ages 18-25 decreased 23 % to 1.7 % while the methamphetamine use fell by a third to 0.4 %.

On the other hand, the (ab)use of prescription painkillers by young adults rose 12 % to 4.6 %. There is a significant decline in overall past-month illicit drug use among youth ages 12-17. It dropped from 11.6% in 2002 to 9.5% in 2007 with additional reductions in the use of almost every type of illicit drug, including marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens, LSD, Ecstasy and methamphetamine, and in the abuse of such prescription drugs as pain relievers.

A drop in alcohol and nicotine use has also been recorded. In the same age group (12 – 17) alcohol use has decreased from 17.6% in 2002 to 15.9% in 2007 while the cigarette use dropped from 13.0% in 2002 to 9.8% in 2007.

There have also been reductions in cocaine and methamphetamine use among adults ages 18-25 and among American workers. A 50 percent reduction in the level of workplace positive drug tests for methamphetamine has been recorded since 2005.

Year 2007 recorded the lowest levels in the history of the workplace testing system since the number of workplace positive drug tests for cocaine decreased 19 percent.

However, illicit drug use among older adults, aged 55 to 59, more than doubled, to 4.1 percent, in 2007. These finding confirm that baby boomers continue their higher levels of substance abuse as they age.

National Drug Control Policy are happy that their efforts against methamphetamine, cocaine, and other illegal drugs are working as the markets for these dangerous drugs are shrinking as well as the toll they take on the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

It is now essential to act quickly in regards to prescription drugs abuse in order to avoid the painful experiences there had been with illegal drugs. Awareness of the dangers of prescription drug abuse must be increased and the illegal diversion of the products decreased.

There is a strong association between substance abuse and mental health. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health also examined mental health issues and found that 24.3 million Americans aged 18 or older experienced serious psychological distress and 16.5 million Americans suffered at least one episode of major depression in 2007. Out of those who had been through a major bout of depression in 2007 were more than twice as likely as other adults to have used illicit drugs - 27.4 % vs. 12.8%.