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  1. talltom
    8.9% of Americans from the ages of 12 years and up were illicit drug users according to the federally funded National Survey on Drug Use and Health. This has increased by 8% since 2008 and equals approximately 22.6 million people. Marijuana use is the most common. Marijuana use may increase some due to legalized medical marijuana.

    The survey information released on Thursday showed people were taking everything from cocaine, heroin, and inhalants to recreational prescription drugs to hallucinogens. However, marijuana use is becoming a selection of choice. According to the 2010 survey, 17.4 million people have used pot within the last month. 2.4 million people tried it for the first time in 2010. The number has increased 0.2% between 2009 and 2010.

    Baby boomers have increased their illicit drug and marijuana use from 2.7% in 2002 to 5.8% in 2010. As aging occurs, so does pain, so drug use or drug misuse if often a result.

    The rate of both alcohol use and smoking has decreased amongst the younger population. Alcohol dropped 1.1% while tobacco use dropped by 0.9% among users between 12 and 17. The use of methamphetamine and cocaine decreased in this age category as well. With these drugs declining, this group seems to be improving, however, approximately 23.1 million youth had a drug or alcohol problem in 2010 while only 2.6 million were treated for their problem.

    It has been suggested that the increase in marijuana use may not mean there are more people taking on the habit, but because certain states have legalized medical marijuana, there will be more users.

    Whatever the reason is for the increase in marijuana use, police found out in 2010 the drug was everywhere. New York City had more arrests for marijuana possession last year than the tally of possession arrests between 1978 and 1996.

    Julie MacKenzie
    September 9, 2011



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