Substance Abuse

Illegal Drug Use at Its Highest in Nearly a Decade

An increase in the illegal use of marijuana, ecstasy and methamphetamine led to the highest rate in illegal drug use in nearly a decade, based on the annual report of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, released on Wednesday.

A report shared a 9 percent increase in drug use, something that Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, was disappointed – but not surprised – about. Kerlikowske said: “I think all of the attention and the focus of calling marijuana medicine has sent the absolute wrong message to our young people.”

drugsThe report identified marijuana as the most commonly used drug.

The results of the survey, however, were viewed by Mike Meno, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, as proof that the war being waged by the government against marijuana is not working. Meno said: “It’s time we stop this charade and implement sensible laws that would tax and regulate marijuana the same way we do more harmful – but legal –  drugs like alcohol and tobacco.”

There was some good news in the report, though; it was shown that cocaine use has continued to decline. Cocaine use has reportedly dropped 32 percent from its peak in 2006.

The survey showed that about 21.8 million Americans, aged 12 and older, admitted to using illegal drugs in 2009. This is the highest rate of illegal drug use since the surveys began in the year 2002; the previous peak was in 2006, where over 20 million Americans admitted to illegal drug use.

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