Marijuana Use in America on the Rise

The results of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicated an increase in pot use in the United States, among American aged 12 years old and older.

marijuanaThe results of the survey, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), showed that 17.4 million Americans, aged 12 and above, admitted to using pot in 2010. This number translated to a user rate of 6.9 percent; in 2007, the user rate was 5.8.

In a written statement, Pamela Hyde, SAMHSA Administrator, shared: “We stand at a crossroads in our nation’s efforts to prevent substance abuse and addiction… This nation cannot afford to risk losing more individuals, families and communities to illicit drugs or from other types of substance abuse.”

The survey, however, also showed some positive results. While marijuana use posted an increasing trend, use of other drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, was declining. Methamphetamine user rates went down by nearly half from 2006 to 2010, from 731,000 users to 353,000 users. The number of cocaine users, on the other hand, was reduced to 1.5 million users in 2010, from 2.4 million users in 2006.

Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the National Drug Control Policy, issued a statement that linked the increase in marijuana use to medical marijuana, by pointing out the fact that states that legalized the medical use of marijuana were also the states that pegged higher rates of pot use: “Emerging research reveals potential links between state laws permitting access to smoked medical marijuana and higher rates of marijuana use… I urge every family – but particularly those in states targeted by pro-drug political campaigns – to redouble their efforts to shield young people from serious harm by educating them about the real health and safety consequences caused by illegal drug use.”

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