Reduce the proportion of people who misused prescription drugs in the past year — SU‑12 Data Methodology and Measurement

About the National Data


Baseline: 6.2 percent of persons aged 12 years and over misused prescription drugs in the past 12 months in 2018

Target: 3.6 percent

Number of persons aged 12 years and over who misused psychotherapeutic drugs in the past 12 months.
Number of persons aged 12 and over.
Target-setting method
Target-setting method details
Linear trend fitted using weighted least squares and a projection at the 75 percent prediction interval.
Target-setting method justification
Trend data were evaluated for this objective. Using historical data points, a trend line was fitted using weighted least squares, and the trend was projected into the next decade. This method was used because three or more comparable data points were available, the projected value was within the range of possible values, and a projection at the 75 percent prediction interval was selected because the Healthy People 2030 Workgroup Subject Matter Experts viewed this as an ambitious yet achievable target.


Methodology notes

NSDUH collects data on four categories of prescription drugs (pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives) covering numerous medications that currently are or have been available by prescription. NSDUH respondents are asked to report misuse of these drugs, defined as use in any way not directed by a doctor, including use without a prescription of one's own; use in greater amounts, more often, or longer than told to take a drug; or use in any other way not directed by a doctor. Misuse of over-the-counter drugs is not included. NSDUH reports combine the four prescription drug groups into a category referred to as "psychotherapeutics." Because the NDSUH prescription drug measures were revised in 2015, data for prescription drug misuse are not comparable with estimates prior to 2015.


Comparable HP2020 objective
Retained, which includes core objectives that are continuing from Healthy People 2020 with no change in measurement.

1. Because Healthy People 2030 objectives have a desired direction (e.g., increase or decrease), the confidence level of a one-sided prediction interval can be used as an indication of how likely a target will be to achieve based on the historical data and fitted trend.