WASHINGTON: The use of illegal drugs among Americans in general is holding steady, but it’s surging among middle-aged baby boomers, according to report released Wednesday.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicated that 9.2 percent of Americans aged 12 and over, or 23.9 million, were current consumers of illicit substances.

That’s down slightly from rates of 8.7 to 8.9 percent in 2009 to 2011, said the report, sponsored by the US government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

But among adults aged 50 to 64, illicit drug use has grown substantially — a trend that the report attributed in part to “the aging ... of members of the baby boom cohort” born between 1946 and 1964. For adults aged 50 to 54, the rate more than doubled from 3.4 percent in 2002 to 7.2 percent last year. For those aged 55 to 59, it more than tripled from 1.9 percent to 6.6 percent. “Among those aged 60 to 64, the rate increased from 1.1 percent in 2003 to 3.6 percent in 2012,” the report added.–AFP