What does this measure?
The rate of people age 18 and older who have used an illicit drug in the past month.
Why is this important?
Drug use can have serious long-term physical and mental effects on user, including damage to one's heart, memory, kidneys and liver. Abuse and addiction take a large social and financial toll on a community and the individual, consuming financial and time resources often at the expense of one's livelihood and relationships. Depending on the method of consumption, drug use can also increase the risk of contracting diseases such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis, and can lead to death from an accident or overdose.
How is our county doing?
In 2016-18, 20% of Essex County adults reported using an illicit drug in the last 30 days, lower than the statewide rate of 24% and higher than the national rate of 18%.
How do we compare to similar counties?
Essex County was fairly similar to the comparison counties - reported drug use among adults in 2016-18 was 14% in Lake County, IL and in Westchester, NY and 23% in Middlesex, MA.
Notes about the data
Illicit drugs include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, prescription-type psychotherapeutics used non-medically. Data come from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health sponsored by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. SAMHSA combined three years of responses to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates.
For this indicator, the counties were defined by the "2012-14 National Survey on Drug Use and Health." Because of this, Essex County includes some parts of Middlesex County and Middlesex County includes some parts of Norfolk and Plymouth counties. In addition, the data for Westchester County contains two additional counties: Putnam and Rockland.