According to a new survey, since 2002 prescription drug abuse for young people has dropped 14 percent. Furthermore, there’s been a decrease across all age levels in the number of people who abuse narcotic pain pills, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives: 6.1 million in 2011, down from 7 million in 2010. Experts say the decrease indicates that public health and law enforcement efforts are working to curb prescription drug abuse.
Uh, not so fast. Apparently, the survey reveals that a half-million more people are addicted to pain relievers. There were 936,000 pill abusers in 2002; now there are reportedly 1.4 million. About a third of those are 18 to 25, the survey found.
Marijuana, though, is growing in popularity. While smoking and drinking has declined, another study (Monitoring the Future) reports that 12.4 percent of eighth- and 10th-graders had used pot in the previous month.
Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, says, “It's good to see problematic use of alcohol and tobacco among young people continuing to decline – and worth noting that this good news has little to nothing to do with arrests, incarceration or mandatory drug testing ... Contrast this with marijuana use, which has increased somewhat notwithstanding the fact that almost 800,000 people are arrested each year for marijuana possession.”
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