Illicit Drug Use Rising In The US
September 9, 2011

Illicit Drug Use Rising In The US


The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), reveals that drug use rose in the US between 2008 and 2010. It indicates that 22.6 million Americans aged 12 or older (8.9 percent of the population) were currently drug users. In 2008 the rate of drug use was 8 percent while in 2009 through 2001 the percentage stayed steady at 8.7 percent.

The survey indicates that the increased rate of drug use appears to be related to the increased use of marijuana. The rate of marijuana use has increased over the years. In 2007 there were 14.4 million marijuana users while in 2010 that number increased to 17.4 million users.

Not all the trends in the study show increasing drug use. The numbers for 2010 showed some area of improvement in lower numbers being reported for certain substances. Substances that showed a downward trend in use are methamphetamines, cocaine, alcohol use among 12 - 17 year olds, and current tobacco use.

According to Pamela S. Hyde, the SAMHSA administrator, “We stand at a crossroads in our nation´s efforts to prevent substance abuse and addiction. These statistics represent real lives that are at risk from the harmful and sometimes devastating effects of illicit drug use. This nation cannot afford to risk losing more individuals, families and communities to illicit drugs or from other types of substance abuse – instead, we must do everything we can to effectively promote prevention, treatment and recovery programs across our country.”

Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy says that, “Emerging research reveals potential links between state laws permitting access to smoked medical marijuana and higher rates of marijuana use.” He also encourages parents to help shield their children from drug use by educating them about the potential health effects and safety consequences caused by drug use.

But there are some people who don´t buy into the harmful effects of drug use. Bill Piper, the Director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, told USA Today that marijuana use rates rise and fall in states that allow medical marijuana use in the same way they do in other states.

Piper said, “In the field of medicine, whether or not a youth might abuse something doesn´t determine whether or not an adult should have access to a medication and whether a doctor should prescribe it.”


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