NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published its results of the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

According to a news release, these results show how people in America communicate their experience with mental health conditions, substance abuse, and the pursuit of treatment in 2021.

“Every year since 1971, this survey has given us a window into our nation’s mental health and substance use challenges and 2021 was no different. As the findings make clear, millions of Americans young and old faced mental health and substance use challenges — sometimes both at once — during the second year of the pandemic,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “As we work to improve behavioral health across the nation, HHS is committed to ensuring that all people facing mental health or substance use challenges are connected to appropriate services and supports.”

“A commitment to data and evidence is one of SAMHSA’s four core principles. The annual NSDUH results help inform our efforts to expand access to treatment options and recovery supports across the nation,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., the leader of SAMHSA. “Harnessing the power of data and evidence is critical to ensuring policies and programs have the greatest opportunity to achieve positive outcomes.”

These estimates should not be compared with the estimates of previous years due to the changes that happened during COVID-19.

Here are the key findings from the 2021 NSDUH:

Drug Use and Substance Use Disorder:

Of those over the age of 12, 61.2 million people used illicit drugs in the past year. The most common was marijuana. 9.2 million people 12 and over missed opioids. 46.3 million people met the criteria for having a substance use disorder. Of those with substance use disorder, 94% of them did not get treatment.

Major Depressive Episodes (MDE) in Adolescents:

One in five adolescents had a major depressive episode in the past year. More than half of those with an MDE did not receive treatment.

Mental Illness in Adults:

Nearly one in four adults had a mental illness in the past year. Adults with serious mental illness did have a higher rate of treatment. People in the age range of 18 to 25 had the lowest rate of treatment.

Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorder with Any Mental Illness:

13.5% of people in the age range of 18 to 25 had a substance use disorder and any mental illness in the past year. Nearly one in three adults had either a substance use disorder or any mental illness.

Serious thoughts of Suicide, Suicide Plans, and Suicide Attempts:

12.3 million people over the age of 18 had serious thoughts of suicide, 3.5 million made plans, and 1.7 million attempted suicide.


7 in 10 people who have ever had a substance use problem consider themselves to be either recovered or in recovery. Two in three people who have ever had a mental health issue consider themselves to be either recovered or in recovery.

Anyone in America who is seeking treatment for mental health or substance use issues should call SAMHSA’s helpline at 800-662-4357 or on its website.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, you can call or text 988 or chat online.