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Recent studies show that across all demographics, genders, and generations drug use is on the rise in the United States.  The use of drugs in the US has reached alarming levels—whether it be heroin use, marijuana use, prescription drugs or other substances.  Interestingly, the media has taken ahold of the rise in drug abuse and is constantly publicizing awful outcomes, yet US society seems not to notice or to be changing their behaviors in response to these preventative tactics.

Although drugs are illegal and a lot of drug use is unreported, there are some factual statistics that prove that the drug problem is increasing in the US.  For instance, Quest Diagnostics, a provider of employee drug testing, “reported in September of 2015 that the percentage of employees testing positive for drugs had reached a 10-year high. This was based on an analysis of nearly 11 million drug test results, in which 4 percent of urine tests were positive, an increase of 2.6 percent from 2014. In oral drug testing, there was a positive test increase of 47 percent over the previous three years, and positive urine tests for heroin have increased 146 percent since 2011. (Further), in 2014, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that an estimated 24.6 million Americans over the age of 12 had used an illicit drug during the last month. This accounted for 9.4 percent of the demographic, which is an increase from 8.3 percent in 2002. (Also), according to the U.N.’s World Drug Report 2016, the amount of heroin users in the United States hit a 20-year high. The number of heroin users in the U.S. reached near one million in 2014, representing a three-fold increase from 2003.  Heroin-related deaths have increased five-fold since 2000. (And last,) since 1999, the number of drug overdose deaths involving opioids in the U.S. has quadrupled, totaling over a half a million fatalities during that period” (www.unityrehab.com).

It seems that the US is somewhat feeling defeated in the fight against drugs when examining all of the statistical data.  Although some new programs in prevention and treatment are being utilized, there seems to be so much more to solving this problem.  Hopefully with increased research efforts, development of improved counseling and prevention tactics, and overall fighting back against addiction, the US can begin to see things turn around and start to win the fight against drugs.

Sources:

1       http://newsroom.questdiagnostics.com/2016-09-15-Drug-Positivity-in-U-S-Workforce-Rises-to-Nearly-Highest-Level-in-a-Decade-Quest-Diagnostics-Analysis-Finds

2       https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/nationwide-trends

3       http://www.reuters.com/article/us-drugs-usa-heroin-idUSKCN0Z90UX

4       http://www.unodc.org/wdr2016/

5       http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/pressreleases/16ESPADpr.pdf

usdruguseDrug Use in the U.S.

The Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy has recently published an easy to understand chart which details drug use in the United States. Using information from extensive government survey data from over 40 years, on the subject, researchers were able to provide accurate and descriptive information regarding drug use.

The patterns of drug use and abuse indicate that most individuals who are using drugs between the ages of 18-26 experiment with and use drugs for a small amount of time. The usage drops off significantly after age 26 –leading the researchers to contemplate whether punishment for such use was too severe during that timeframe in the individual’s lives. In fact, they indicated that more compassion and rational punishments are needed for those individuals because the drug use declines whether or not rehab is present.

Some key findings of the study included:

  • “Marijuana’s reputation as a “gateway” drug is not supported, even for more marijuana use. More than half of respondents under 60 have used it during their lifetime, but fewer than 10 percent use it regularly.
  • Far fewer people progress to harder drugs. Current monthly use of cocaine is 0.6 percent; for heroin and methamphetamines, only 0.2 percent.
  • The vast majority of people with a “substance-use disorder” after age 26 developed it before age 18.
  • Problematic drug use has been stable for decades, calling into question the success of the war on drugs.
  • Some cities, states and countries have devised proven successful alternatives to prohibition and harsh punishment for drug use and abuse.
  • Now that about 90 percent of new heroin users are white, politicians and other officials are starting to treat opioid addiction as a disease and public health problem rather than a crime deserving harsh punishment.
  • Traumatic childhood experience, mental illness and economic insecurity are more significant predictors of substance abuse than availability of the drugs.” (news.rice.edu)

Source: news.rice.edu

Should Kids Know About Parent’s Past Drug Use?

A recent study, published in the Journal of Human Communication Research, shows that disclosing any experiences parents have had with drug in the past to their children is not a good idea. Parents who experimented with hard or mild drug use in their teenage or young adult years shouldn’t bring it up with their kids according to the researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who surveyed 561 middle school students on talks they had had with their parents about drinking, smoking and marijuana. Interestingly, the study indicated kids were less likely to think that drugs are bad if they know parents had a past usage of drugs.

However, the study’s lead author, Jennifer Kam, made a point to say “We are not recommending that parents lie to their …children about their own past drug use.” Rather, “we are suggesting that parents should focus on talking to their kids about the negative consequences of drug use, how to avoid offers, family rules against use, that they disapprove of use, and others who have gotten in trouble from using.” Further, it’s also worth pointing out that it’s never too late to turn a life around, and effective treatment can help rescue someone from drug addiction.

 

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