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World Drug Use Survey: U.S. Has Highest Level Of Illegal Cocaine And Cannabis Use

By Expat98, Jul 1, 2008 | | |
  1. Expat98
    United States Has Highest Level Of Illegal Cocaine And Cannabis Use

    ScienceDaily (June 30, 2008) — A survey of 17 countries has found that despite its punitive drug policies the United States has the highest levels of illegal cocaine and cannabis use. The study, by Louisa Degenhardt (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia) and colleagues, is based on the World Health Organization's Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).

    The authors found that 16.2% of people in the United States had used cocaine in their lifetime, a level much higher than any other country surveyed (the second highest level of cocaine use was in New Zealand, where 4.3% of people reported having used cocaine). Cannabis use was highest in the US (42.4%), followed by New Zealand (41.9%).

    In the Americas, Europe, Japan, and New Zealand, alcohol had been used by the vast majority of survey participants, compared to smaller proportions in the Middle East, Africa, and China.

    The survey found differences in both legal and illegal drug use among different socioeconomic groups. For example, males were more likely than females to have used all drug types; younger adults were more likely than older adults to have used all drugs examined; and higher income was related to drug use of all kinds. Marital status was found to be related to tobacco, cannabis, and cocaine use, but not alcohol use (the never married and previously married having higher odds of lifetime cocaine and cannabis use than the currently married; tobacco use is more likely in people who have been previously married while less likely among the never married).

    Drug use "does not appear to be simply related to drug policy," say the authors, "since countries with more stringent policies towards illegal drug use did not have lower levels of such drug use than countries with more liberal policies." In the Netherlands, for example, which has more liberal policies than the US, 1.9% of people reported cocaine use and 19.8% reported cannabis use.

    Data on drug use were available from 54,068 survey participants in 17 countries. The 17 countries were determined by the availability of research collaborators and on funding for the survey. Trained lay interviewers carried out face-to-face interviews (except in France where the interviews were done over the telephone) using a standardized, structured diagnostic interview for psychiatric conditions and drug use. Participants were asked if they had ever used alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, or cocaine.

    The study's main limitations are that only 17 countries were surveyed, within these countries there were different rates of participation, and it is unclear whether people accurately report their drug use when interviewed. Nevertheless, the findings present comprehensive data on the patterns of drug use from national samples representing all regions of the world.

    Journal reference:

    1. Degenhardt et al. Toward a Global View of Alcohol, Tobacco, Cannabis, and Cocaine Use: Findings from the WHO World Mental Health Surveys. PLoS Medicine, 2008; 5 (7): e141 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050141

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080630201007.htm

    ******************************************************************************

    NOTE: I have uploaded journal article for the survey here:

    http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/local_links.php?action=jump&catid=105&id=5334

    Here is the Editors' Summary:

    Background

    Understanding how much disability and death a particular disease causes (known as the “burden of disease”) is important. Knowing the burden of a disease in a country contributes to the development of healthier nations by directing strategies and policies against the disease. Researchers' understanding of the burden of diseases across different countries was piecemeal until the 1990 launch of a special World Health Organization (WHO) project, the Global Burden of Disease Project. In 2002, on the basis of updated information from this ongoing project, the WHO estimated that 91 million people were affected by alcohol use disorders and 15 million by drug use disorders.

    Why Was This Study Done?

    It is widely accepted that alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use are linked with a considerable amount of illness, disability, and death. However, there are few high-quality data quantifying the amount across different countries, especially in less-developed countries. The researchers therefore set out to collect basic patterns of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and cocaine use in different countries. They documented lifetime use of these substances in each county, focusing on young adults. They also wanted to examine the age of onset of use and whether the type of drugs used was affected by one's social and economic status.

    What Did the Researchers Do and Find?

    Data on drug use were available from 54,069 survey participants in 17 countries. The 17 countries were determined by the availability of collaborators and on funding for the survey. Trained lay interviewers carried out face-to-face interviews (except in France where the interviews were done over the telephone) using a standardized, structured diagnostic interview for psychiatric conditions. Participants were asked if they had ever used (a) alcohol, (b) tobacco (cigarettes, cigars or pipes), (c) cannabis (marijuana, hashish), or (d) cocaine. If they had used any of these drugs, they were asked about the age they started using each type of drug. The age of first tobacco smoking was not assessed in New Zealand, Japan, France, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, or Spain. The interviewers also recorded the participants' sex, age, years of education, marital status, employment, and household income.

    The researchers found that in the Americas, Europe, Japan, and New Zealand, alcohol had been used by the vast majority of survey participants, compared to smaller proportions in the Middle East, Africa, and China. The global distribution of drug use is unevenly distributed with the US having the highest levels of both legal and illegal drug use among all countries surveyed. There are differences in both legal and illegal drug use among different socioeconomic groups. For example, males were more likely than females to have used all drug types; younger adults were more likely than older adults to have used all drugs examined; and higher income was related to drug use of all kinds. Marital status was found to be linked only to illegal drug use—the use of cocaine and cannabis is more likely in people who have never been married or were previously married. Drug use does not appear to be related to drug policy, as countries with more stringent policies (e.g., the US) did not have lower levels of illegal drug use than countries with more liberal policies (e.g., The Netherlands).

    What Do These Findings Mean?

    These findings present comprehensive and useful data on the patterns of drug use from national samples representing all regions of the world. The data will add to the understanding of the global burden of disease and should be useful to government and health organizations in developing policies to combat these problems. The study does have its limitations—for example, it surveyed only 17 of the world's countries, within these countries there were different rates of participation, and it is unclear whether people accurately report their drug use when interviewed. Nevertheless, the study did find clear differences in drug use across different regions of the world, with the US having among the highest levels of legal and illegal drug use of all the countries surveyed.

Comments

  1. ~lostgurl~
    UN Drug Use Study Findings

    Toward a Global View of Alcohol, Tobacco, Cannabis, and Cocaine Use: Findings from the WHO World Mental Health Surveys (2008)
    .................


    Global Study Shows That Drug Prohibition is a Failure

    Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008
    RINF
    By Steve Higgins

    View attachment 5081

    According to a new survey the USA has highest level of illegal cocaine and cannabis use in the world. Thank goodness the War for Drugs is working so well! Ohh… wait… that’s the war ON drugs and it’s supposed to protect us from ourselves and our nasty drug habits. Well anyway.. here’s the details on the study:

    A survey of 17 countries has found that despite its punitive drug policies the United States has the highest levels of illegal cocaine and cannabis use. The study, by Louisa Degenhardt (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia) and colleagues, is based on the World Health Organization’s Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and is published in this week’s PLoS Medicine.

    The authors found that 16.2% of people in the United States had used cocaine in their lifetime, a level much higher than any other country surveyed (the second highest level of cocaine use was in New Zealand, where 4.3% of people reported having used cocaine). Cannabis use was
    highest in the US (42.4%), followed by New Zealand (41.9%).

    In the Americas, Europe, Japan, and New Zealand, alcohol had been used by the vast majority of survey participants, compared to smaller proportions in the Middle East, Africa, and China.

    The survey found differences in both legal and illegal drug use among different socioeconomic groups. For example, males were more likely than females to have used all drug types; younger adults were more likely than older adults to have used all drugs examined; and higher income was related to drug use of all kinds. Marital status was found to be related to tobacco, cannabis, and cocaine use, but not alcohol use (the never married and previously married having higher odds of lifetime cocaine and cannabis use than the currently married; tobacco use is more likely in people who have been previously married while less likely among the never married).

    Drug use “does not appear to be simply related to drug policy,” say the authors, “since countries with more stringent policies towards illegal drug use did not have lower levels of such drug use than countries with more liberal policies.” In the Netherlands, for example, which has more liberal policies than the US, 1.9% of people reported cocaine use and 19.8% reported cannabis use.

    Data on drug use were available from 54,068 survey participants in 17 countries. The 17 countries were determined by the availability of research collaborators and on funding for the survey. Trained lay interviewers carried out face-to-face interviews (except in France where the interviews were done over the telephone) using a standardized, structured diagnostic interview for psychiatric conditions and drug use. Participants were asked if they had ever used alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, or cocaine.

    The study’s main limitations are that only 17 countries were surveyed, within these countries there were different rates of participation, and it is unclear whether people accurately report their drug use when interviewed. Nevertheless, the findings present comprehensive data on the patterns of drug use from national samples representing all regions of the world.

    Citation: Degenhardt L, Chiu W-T, Sampson N, Kessler RC, Anthony JC, et al. (2008) Toward a global view of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and cocaine use: Findings from the WHO World Mental Health Surveys. PLoS
    Med 5(7): e141. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050141.


    So the take home messages… people in the U.S. have a bunch of disposable income for drugs and we really f’n love cocaine! Although (I should really look at the article directly), it doesn’t look like they check out the countries in which the cocaine was produced. I’d be curious to see a survey on a wider variety of countries.

    And finally… the most important take home message: Drug Policy has NOTHING to do with drug use. We can put users, dealers, producers, cousins of uncles of friends of users, their dogs, cats, guinea pigs, or the lint under their couches in jail or to death and it will have no effect on whether people use drugs or not. Education however… just maybe that will help. Oh.. that and taxation - Heavy heavy taxation. After all tobacco use has gone drastically down in the last decade with more education and higher drug prices.

    http://rinf.com/alt-news/contributions/global-study-shows-that-drug-prohibition-is-a-failure/4018/


    ………………………………………………………………


    This is strange because cocaine is rarely available in NZ and hugely over priced.


    UN report on NZ drug use alarming

    2 July 2008
    Press Release: The Kiwi Party

    Scoop Independent News

    UN report on NZ drug use alarming Kiwi Party leader Larry Baldock reiterated the party’s call for a change in drug policy after the results of the UN study into drug use was published in the ODT today. The report revealed our use of cocaine and cannabis was the 2nd highest in the 17 countries studied.

    “If the drug ‘P’ (methamphetamine) had been included in the study we may have found an even worse result”, said Mr Baldock.

    41.9% of the population reported having used Cannabis and 4.3% having used cocaine. P use has been estimated by other studies to affect between 4% - 7% of our young people.

    “Given the widespread acknowledgment that drug abuse has a direct link to much of our crime rates, such as burglary, child abuse, and the increasing violent crimes which are shocking us all as a nation, we must place a major focus on our drug problem if we are to improve the safety and well being of our society”, said the Kiwi Party Leader.

    “We need to urgently address the country's lack of detox centers. Families must have somewhere to place their loved ones in times of crisis such as these. We must do all we can to ensure they get the very best care to start on the road to being set free from the hideous addictions of ‘P’ and cocaine.

    “Those who manufacture and peddle these horrible drugs could in fact be responsible for the destruction of many lives. Maybe the sentence for these crimes ought to be the equivalent of that imposed for murder?

    The Kiwi Party will continue to fully support former policeman Mark Sabin's proposal that he placed before Parliament’s Law and Order Select Committee more than a month ago, said the Party leader.

    Mr Baldock said that with more than four years personal experience with LSD and Marijuana as a teenager 35 years ago, he can say with some authority on the subject, that harm minimisation will never work.

    "Mr Sabin’s request for random drug tests for students aiming at identifying, intervening and deterring drug use should at least be trialed in several schools so that the results can speak for themselves. We must be prepared to trial new methods because the harm minimisation approach has clearly not reduced drug use at all. Too many parents are left with the nightmare scenario of dealing with their teenage drug users with nowhere to turn for help,” he said.

    The Kiwi Party is committed to establishing both detox centers and rehabilitation facilities because it has been proven over and over that law enforcement alone is not the way to deal with this. A multi- pronged strategy is needed to overcome a problem that has its roots in social orientation but ends in crime. Overseas experience shows that faith based and community centred models run by those with experience and neighbourhood connections show the best results.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0807/S00027.htm


    ........


    Americans are world's top drug users: study

    30 June 2008
    AFP

    WASHINGTON (AFP) — Americans are the world's top consumers of cannabis and cocaine despite punitive US drug laws, according to an international study published in the online scientific magazine PLoS Medicine.

    The study, released Monday, revealed that 16.2 percent of Americans had tried cocaine at least once, and 42.4 percent had used marijuana.

    In second-place New Zealand, just 4.3 percent of study participants had used cocaine, and 41.9 percent marijuana.

    The research was conducted at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, based on World Health Organization data from 54,068 people in 17 countries.

    Rates of participation differed from country to country, and researchers noted uncertainty over how honestly people report their own drug use.

    "Nevertheless, the findings present comprehensive data on the patterns of drug use from national samples representing all regions of the world," a PLoS statement said.

    A vast majority of survey participants from the United States, Europe, Japan and New Zealand had consumed alcohol, compared to smaller percentages from the Middle East, Africa and China.

    The data also revealed socioeconomic patterns in drug use. Single young adult men with high income had the greatest tendency to regularly use drugs.

    Drug use "does not appear to be simply related to drug policy," the researchers wrote, "since countries with more stringent policies toward illegal drug use did not have lower levels of such drug use than countries with more liberal policies."

    In the Netherlands, where drug policy is more liberal than the United States, 1.9 percent of survey participants said they had used cocaine and 19.8 percent marijuana.

    Twelve US 12 states including California permit medical use of marijuana, but possession and use remains prohibited under federal law.

    And despite the US government's massive anti-drug efforts, the United States remains the world's top drug market, one amply supplied by South American cartels.

    The US Drug Enforcement Agency has observed ever larger quantities of illegal drugs pouring into the country.

    "We are seizing greater quantities of illegal drugs than ever before," said a DEA statement last week.

    In 2007, agents seized 41 metric tons of cocaine in just two raids, and denied drug traffickers record-breaking revenue of 3.5 billion dollars for the year, it said.

    http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hovUpnhllEsX9vClXt86VxCmwo1A
  2. ~lostgurl~
    Doubts raised over accuracy of drug use study

    [​IMG]
    A new entry has been added to File Archive

    Description:
    2 mins
    2 July 2008
    TV3 News (NZ)

    A new study looking at drug use in 17 countries places New Zealand second when it comes to cannabis and cocaine use. But the Government says it has doubts about the accuracy of the World Health Organisation's findings.

    Cannabis is New Zealand's most used illegal drug.

    A new survey paints a grim picture of how Kiwis stack up internationally, ranking second only to the United States when it comes to lighting up. "We do like our cannabis, we've always had fairly high usage rates of cannabis so that doesn't surprise us," says Ross Bell of the NZ Drug Foundation.

    The study questioned just over 85,000 people in 17 countries. The United States led the way for cannabis use (42.4 percent), followed closely by New Zealand (41.9 percent).

    The US had the highest proportion of people who reported trying cocaine (16.4 percent), but New Zealand (4.3 percent) had more people who had tried it than in Columbia or Mexico (both on four percent).

    But Mr Bell says the cocaine figures should be treated with caution. "When you start ranking us with the 195 countries in the world, New Zealand's cocaine use pales in comparison."

    The police agree. "Cannabis is not actively policed in New Zealand, except at the high-end commercial level," says Police Association president Greg O'Connor. However cocaine, when it comes to the attention of police is actively policed, and it doesn't come to our attention very often."

    One drug education group, Methcon, says the study is further evidence of cannabis being normalised in society.

    The Associate Health Minister, Jim Anderton, would not comment on camera but says he has doubts about the accuracy of the study, and has asked for a report from his own officials on its findings.


    To check it out, rate it or add comments, visit

    Doubts raised over accuracy of drug use study

    Study Results


  3. Expat98
  4. ~lostgurl~
    Re: UN Drug Use Study Findings

    Ah crap! I will get the 3 threads merged, thanks Expat
  5. Expat98
    Here's another article discussing the significance of this study.

    ***

    The World Health Organization Documents Failure of U.S. Drug Policies

    By Bruce Mirken, AlterNet
    Posted July 2, 2008

    The United States has some of the world's most punitive drug policies and has led the cheering section for tough "war on drugs" policies worldwide, but a new international study suggests that those policies have been a crashing failure. A World Health Organization survey of 17 countries, conducted by some of the world's leading substance abuse researchers, found that we have the highest rates of marijuana and cocaine use.

    The numbers are startling. In the United States, 42.4 percent admitted having used marijuana. The only other nation that came close was New Zealand, another bastion of get-tough policies, at 41.9 percent. No one else was even close. The results for cocaine use were similar, with the United States leading the world by a large margin.

    This study is important because it's the first time a respected international group has surveyed drug use around the world, using the same questions and procedure everywhere. While many countries have their own drug use surveys, the questions and methodology vary, and comparisons between countries are difficult. This new study eliminates that problem.

    Some of the most striking numbers are from the Netherlands, where adults are permitted to possess a small of marijuana and purchase it from regulated businesses. Some U.S. officials have claimed that these Dutch policies have created some sort of decadent cesspool of drug abuse, but the new study demolishes such assertions: In the Netherlands, only 19.8 percent have used marijuana, less than half the U.S. figure.

    Even more striking is what the researchers found when they asked young adults when they had started using marijuana. Again, the United States led the world, with 20.2 percent trying marijuana by age 15. No other country was even close, and in the Netherlands, just 7 percent used marijuana by 15 -- roughly one-third of the U.S. figure.

    The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy tried to dismiss the study, Bloomberg News reported:

    Funny, ONDCP takes precisely the opposite line whenever a state considers liberalizing its marijuana laws. In a March press release, deputy Drug Czar Scott Burns railed against a New Hampshire proposal to decriminalize marijuana, saying such a move "sends the wrong message to New Hampshire's youth, students, parents, public health officials and the law enforcement community," and would lead to "more drugs, drug users and drug dealers on their streets and communities."

    Back in 2002, denouncing a proposed marijuana law reform in Nevada, ONDCP distributed a list of talking points to prosecutors specifically slamming the "extremely dubious" Dutch system of regulated sales, saying, "Increased availability of marijuana leads to increased use of marijuana and other drugs."

    In fact, ONCDP's latest excuse for the failure of U.S. drug policies -- that enforcement and penalties don't really have much effect on rates of use -- is probably just about right. But it also dynamites any justification for our current marijuana laws. The WHO researchers put it this way:

    "The U.S., which has been driving much of the world's drug research and drug policy agenda, stands out with higher levels of use of alcohol, cocaine, and cannabis, despite punitive illegal drug policies. ... The Netherlands, with a less criminally punitive approach to cannabis use than the US, has experienced lower levels of use, particularly among younger adults. Clearly, by itself, a punitive policy towards possession and use accounts for limited variation in nation level rates of illegal drug use."

    For this we arrest 830,000 Americans a year on marijuana charges?

    Bruce Mirken is director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project.

    ---

    http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/90295/
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