Marijuana Use Up

September 9, 2011 by staff 

Marijuana Use UpMarijuana Use Up, Drug use among college-age adults is increasing, driven mainly by increased consumption of marijuana, a national survey of drug use found.
Nearly one in ten people said that regular use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or prescription drugs recreationally, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health released today . The survey, sponsored by the Federal Administration Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), collects the data of 67,500 interviews with randomly selected people 12 years or more.

Marijuana, with 17.4 million regular users, is by far the most commonly used drug. Its popularity is growing: 6.9% of the population reported using marijuana regularly, up from 5.8% in 2007. Among 12 – to 17-year-old, 7.4% reported having used marijuana in the past month, about the same as last year.

Drug use among young adults 18 to 25 has climbed steadily from 19.6% in 2008 to 21.5% in 2010. Marijuana use among this group increased from 16.5% in 2008 to 18.5% in 2010.

Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control, attributed the increase in marijuana use increased the number of states that have approved for medical use. May Delaware became the 16th state to approve medical marijuana.

Drug use rises
Percentage of population 12 years of age who are regular users of illicit drugs and marijuana.

Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
“People keep calling to medicine, and that’s the wrong message to young people to listen,” said Kerlikowske.

Marijuana use rates rise and fall in states that allow medical marijuana in the same way as they do in other states, said Bill Piper, national affairs director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates the decriminalization of marijuana.

“In the field of medicine, whether or not an abuse of some young people could not determine whether an adult should have access to medication and the doctor should prescribe,” said Piper.

Rebecca McGoldrick, 21, Brown University senior smoke marijuana to get relief from pain and nausea caused by fibromyalgia.

“Most of my friends are still unaware of their status as a medicine,” said McGoldrick, who is involved with Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, which advocates the decriminalization of drug use.

The legal status did not influence whether they smoked marijuana, he said.

“I have lots of friends who decide to use it and many who do not choose,” he said. “I think that is an alternative to alcohol for some people.”

Among young adults 18 to 25 in 2010, 40.6% reported binge drinking, defined as having five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least one day in the month before taking the survey, about the same pace in 2009.

Meanwhile, consumption of methamphetamine, which ran through the U.S. a decade, has fallen dramatically. The number of users in the previous month fell from 731,000 in 2006 to 353,000 in 2010.

Since methamphetamine has emerged as a drug problem in 2001, states have banned or restricted the sale of ingredients used to make homemade methamphetamine, including pseudoephedrine cold medicines like Sudafed.

“We’ve seen a better service for law enforcement and policy changes. You can get all the Sudafed I love you more,” said Peter Delany, director of the Center for Mental Health Statistics and Quality SAMHSA.

The percentage of population using prescription drugs such as narcoticanlgesics, non-medical reasons was 2.7%. The survey found that 55% of them free drugs from a friend or relative, 11.4% bought from a friend or relative, and 5% stole from a friend or family member. Only 4% bought at a drug dealer.

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called prescription drug abuse, a public health epidemic, said Kerlikowske, the police cracked down on doctors who write thousands of prescriptions with little or no medical examination, and the states programs designed to control the prescription of narcotics.

“I think we’re starting to see some positive results, but we are by no means out of danger,” said Kerlikowske.

On Wednesday, the Drug Enforcement Administration to take action against the “bath salts,” the nickname of a synthetic drug that some public health experts have identified as an emerging drug problem. Synthetic drugs, often sold in convenience stores under names such as “Cloud Nine” or “Wave Ivory ‘supposedly mimic the effects of cocaine or LSD can cause hallucinations and paranoia. The American Association of Poison Control Centers has been 4137 reported cases of diseases of the drugs at July 31, over 302 calls in 2010.

The DEA used his emergency powers to temporarily control the sale of three synthetic stimulants, Mephedrone, MDPV and Methylone, used to make salts. The action takes possession or sale of illegal chemicals in the United States for at least a year, while the DEA and the Department of Health and Human Services study.

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