To provide a wide perspective about licit and illicit drugs used amongst the general population and young people is the main purpose of the article. Analyzing the most important national survey about the prevalence of drugs consume in Usa and in Europe (with digressions on the rest of the world), Bertolazzi advances some critical query on this kind of researches. On one hand, empirical evidences show an increase in the diffusion of psicoattive substances; on the other hand, wide-ranging surveys are unable to focus on specific setting of consume. It seems necessary to use important methodological tools (like the adoption of purpose sample for the research) in order to to target the real dimension of the phenomenon. Moreover, trends of consume are examined through four variables: the availability of substances; the political asset; the legal system; the social and cultural patterns. The latter appears to be more and more influential in the process of normalization of drug’s consumption, especially for substances like cannabis (increase of daily users) and club drugs (in recreational settings).