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Drug Use Statistics
Interesting Drug Use Stats
When you read drug statistics you come away with a lasting impression of an enormous amount of people unable to reconcile this life we live with their expectations of it. A yawning chasm grows between how we think things should be and how they actually are. Over 21.6 million Americans fill that yawning chasm with substances like drugs and alcohol that they have come to rely on to help them escape a reality that they find untenable.
This does not include the estimated 19.5 million who are current illicit drug users. This is a whopping 8.2% of the population aged 12 and over. An ironically sobering thought. What does it all mean? As studies evolve and become ever more refined and sophisticated the facts that they reveal expose a society that continues to seek escape from the human condition.
Are we worse off now than ever before? Are we, as a society, spiraling downwards uncontrollably? It is easy to feel a rising sense of panic at the numbers of young people who are dipping into every form of chemical substance in search of something that nothing else seems capable of providing.
A growing awareness has leant power to our distress at the numbers who find their lives increasingly controlled by something other than themselves. But, the fact is, that drugs have been around as long as humans have. Clearly the need to escape the human condition is very much a part of that condition. It is a toss up as to whether we are worse off now than before or better off because of easy access to statistics that prove that we HAVE a problem.
The 2003 survey hands us some powerful information on a plate. What society does with this knowledge is the next question. With knowledge comes responsibility. It is no longer possible to take refuge in ignorance. People are suffering and something needs to be done about it.
MARIJUANA: Number one illicit drug
According to the survey this is still the most commonly used illicit drug with users amounting to 6.2% of the population (14.6 million). Each day an average of 7,000 Americans try marijuana for the first time. Two thirds of these new users are under the age of 18 and about half are female.
An estimated 2.3 million people were currently using cocaine with 604,000 using the more powerful crack. One million people used hallucinogens with an estimated 119,000 current heroin users.
A HORRIFYING FACT
While the number of current users of Ecstasy decreased from 676,000 to 470,000 between 2002 and 2003 and LSD use is almost halved from 1 million to 558,000, a staggering 6.3 million people were current users of psychotherapeutic drugs taken non-medically. Is it possible that the latter drop in usage really reflected a deflection to substances?
This number represents 2.7% percent of the population aged 12 and over with an estimated 4.7 million using pain relievers, 1.8 million, tranquillizers, 1.2 million, stimulants and 0.3 million sedatives.
Numbers are going up among lifetime users of non-medical pain relievers. Vicodin, Lortab or Lorcet users went from 13.1 million in 2003 to 15.7 million in 2004.
Admissions into treatment facilities and emergency rooms for other prescription drugs like Valium, Xanax and Librium went up from 4,600 in 1992 to 8,300 in 2002.
SAMHSA's DAWN data system reported that drug abuse related emergency department visits involving narcotic analgesics increased 153% in the nation between 1995 and 2002. The greatest increases occurred for oxycodone at 512%, methadone at 176%, hydrocone at 159% and morphine at 116%. Drug dependence was the most frequently mentioned motive for admission.
Drug abuse related emergency department visits involving amphetamines or methamphetamines increased by 54% between 1995 and 2002 with the increases being most marked geographically at Newark with 574%, New Orleans with 507% and Baltimore with 500%.
SAMHSA's Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) records an alarming increase in the rate of admissions for narcotic painkillers of 155% between 1995 and 2002. With the increase being most noticeable in the most rural areas and least noticeable in the large central metropolitan areas. This sheds a not too favorable light on any illusions of rural peace and tranquility.
Trends show a slow decrease in usage of the traditional drug 'heavies' like heroin and even cocaine and a disturbing adaptation towards the more easily accessible misuse of prescription and other over the counter medications. Pain reliever incidence increased from 1990 with 573,000 initiates to a staggering 2.5 million in 2001.
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