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Latest Substance Abuse Stats Show Troubling Trends

By October 21, 2010

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The latest government statistics about how and how much Americans use drugs and alcohol are out and the news is not encouraging for healthcare providers. More people are doing illicit drugs and an alarming percentage of people engage in regular binge drinking, the numbers show.

Experts blame the eroding attitudes and perceptions of harm about drug use and binge drinking over the past two years for the uptick in drinking and drugging in the USA.

First, the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) indicated a significant increase in the number of Americans using illicit drugs from 2008 until 2009. Then the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report estimating that a full one-quarter of teens and young adults engage in binge drinking.

Heavy Drinking Dangers

The CDC report said 15% of all Americans regularly binge drink.

According to the CDC, the practice of binge drinking - drinking five or more drinks during any one drinking session - is most common for:

  • Males
  • Adults aged 18 to 34
  • In households with incomes more than $75,000

CDC officials said the binge drinking among teens was particularly alarming because research shows that their brains may be more susceptible to damage from heavy drinking than older drinkers.

Illicit Drug Use Increases

Meanwhile, the latest Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) figures show an increase in illicit drug use from 8% to 8.7% from 2008 to 2009, lead by increases in the use of marijuana, ecstasy and prescription drugs.

According to the NSDUH study, between 2008 and 2009:

  • Prescription drug abuse rose from 2.5% to 2.8%
  • Past month ecstasy users went from 555,000 to 760,000
  • Methamphetamine users went from 312,000 to 502,000

Youth Drug Use Rises

Among 12 to 17-year-old, the overall illicit drug use increased from 9.3% in 2008 to 10% in 2009, lead mostly by an increase in marijuana use, the report said.

For youth age 12-17, between 2008 and 2009:

  • Marijuana use went from 6.7% to 7.3%
  • Alcohol and tobacco use remained the same
  • Those who consider drug use harmful dropped to 49.3%

It was the first time since 2002 that less than half of young people perceived great harm in frequent marijuana use.

"These results are a wake-up call to the nation," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. "Our strategies of the past appear to have stalled out with generation 'next.' Parents and caregivers, teachers, coaches, faith and community leaders, must find credible new ways to communicate with our youth about the dangers of substance abuse."

The complete NSDUH study findings are available online.

An abstract of the CDC report, "Vital Signs: Binge Drinking Among High School Students and Adults --- United States, 2009," is also available online.

About Binge Drinking:

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July 7, 2011 at 4:55 pm
(1) Michael Evans says:

My feeling on the statistic on:

“Among 12 to 17-year-old, the overall illicit drug use increased from 9.3% in 2008 to 10% in 2009, lead mostly by an increase in marijuana use, the report said.

For youth age 12-17, between 2008 and 2009:

* Marijuana use went from 6.7% to 7.3%”

Is this marijuana use increased a byproduct of the cigarette usage decrease among teenager ? I believe it is.

In previous generations the primary drug that served as the “gateway” or “introductory” drug to any drug use in the United States was the tobacco cigarette. This “gateway” drug has now been replaced by the marijuana cigarette because of the negative health effects associated with the cigarette and it’s primary addictive ingredient “nicotine”.

One of the reason for this behavior is that in most of the world’s cultures in the overall act of “smoking” is a symbol of adulthood or independence. Young people usually start smoking anything as a way to be convince themselves and peers that they are engaging in adult-oriented, independent, behavior.

It is pretty much common knowledge among most young people worldwide that nicotine is the MOST addictive substance available in the world outside of alcohol that can be obtained legally. This knowledge couple with the overall societal normalization of marijuana usage has caused many people to forgo the cigarette alternative and instead engage in “recreational” marijuana usage.

June 4, 2013 at 1:00 am
(2) Thomas Peel says:

that is truly like disturbing and unbelievable!

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