A leaf from the cannabis plant
The annual survey on drug use has revealed that fewer people are using meth, but more are using marijuana. Image From Wikimedia Commons.

The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health has just been released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. The survey found that marijuana use is increasing nationally, though use of more harmful drugs such as methamphetamine declined.

Attempts to reduce marijuana use go to pot

Every year, the government updates the nation on legal and illegal drug use in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The survey is conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The survey containing data from 2010 on drug use has just been released, according to Reuters,. It found 8.9 percent of all U.S. citizens used illegal drugs in 2010 compared to 8.7 percent in 2009. The increase almost entirely was due to more people smoking marijuana. In 2007, 5.8 percent of the population admitted to using marijuana, and 6.9 percent admitted to using marijuana in 2010. The increase in marijuana use was attributed to medical marijuana laws by Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy or the nation’s “Drug Czar.”

Use of stronger drugs declined

The survey generally asks people what drugs they’ve used in the past 30 days. The increase in marijuana use was mostly among people between the ages of 18 and 25, according to the Baltimore Sun. Marijuana use in that age group increased to 21.5 percent in 2010, up from 19.6 percent in 2009 and 16.5 percent in 2008, according to USA Today. However, other categories of drug use declined. Methamphetamine use declined to 353,000 people admitting meth use in the past 30 days in 2010, dramatically down from 731,000 in 2006. Fewer people were using cocaine as well, according to Reuters. Use fell from 2.4 million people reporting use in the past month in 2006 to 1.5 million in 2010. According to the survey, hallucinogen use among respondents in the 2010 survey was the same rate as 2002, with 1.5 million people admitting hallucinogen use in the past month. The survey projects 200,000 people used heroin in any given 30-day period in 2010.

Prescription drug use stagnant

Recreational use of prescription drugs declined by 0.1 percent from 2009 to 2.7 percent of people using prescription drugs for non-medical reasons in 2010. Tranquilizers and painkillers were most likely to be used for recreational purposes. The rate of drug use typically peaks between 18 to 25 and steadily declines among age groups. Alcohol use was virtually unchanged overall, but underage alcohol use has decreased slowly but surely from 28.8 percent of 12 to 20-year-olds in 2002 to 26.3 percent in 2010. Tobacco use declined from 27.7 percent in the past 30 days in 2009 among those 12 and older to 27.4 percent in 2010. Tobacco use in 2002 was reported by 30.4 percent of respondents.


Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/08/usa-drugs-idUSN1E7870N520110908

USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2011-09-08/National-drug-survey-shows-big-drop-in-methamphetamine-use/50309360/1

Baltimore Sun: http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-marijuana-drugs-20110908,0,295636.story

National Survey on Drug Use and Health: http://oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH/2k10NSDUH/2k10Results.htm

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