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:
- Adults aged 18 to 34
- In households with incomes more than $75,000
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
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%
"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: