Illegal Drug Use in the Us

Illegal Drug Use in the Us

  • Submitted By: tcardiff
  • Date Submitted: 03/21/2011 7:26 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 1292
  • Page: 6
  • Views: 748

Applying Psychology to Issues in Society

Illegal drug use in the United states rose to the highest level in nearly a decade in 2009. Abuse of alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, and various other illegal substances have increased dramatically since the mid-1990s, according to the study released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University. According to a government survey an average 15.9 million people used drugs illegally in the United States in 2000 alone, representing 7 percent of the population aged 12 or older. Here we are ten years later and the situation is tremendously worse. Researchers all seem to be pointing to the same source, the most widely used illicit substance in the world, cannabis. Cannabis is a gateway drug, it’s a habit forming substance that may lead to more addictive and dangerous drugs.

"As the perception that marijuana is dangerous goes down, its use goes up," observed Tommy Thompson, secretary of Health and Human Services, which conducted the 2009 survey. Health authorities are especially concerned about use of illicit drugs by young people. The survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found 21.2 percent of young adults experimented with illegal drugs in 2009. The report says the trend "was also driven in large part by the use of marijuana." National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske told CBS Radio News, young people are being exposed to "mixed messages" about marijuana including the idea that it is a medicine. Several studies have shown that marijuana dependence is very real and harmful. We know that more than 30% of past-year marijuana users age 18 and older are classified as dependent on the drug and it has more life long users then any other drug. Marijuana negatively affects users in many ways, constant use has resulted in lower test scores and lower educational gain because use directly affects the ability to learn and process...

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