America's Problem With Illicit Drugs
According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, Americans constitute 4 percent of the world’s population, but consume 65 percent of the world’s illegal drugs.
For a very fast overview of the drug problem in this country, review the following information available from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Every year, they publish the National Survey on Drug Use and Health which contains detailed statistics on drug use in this country.
Here are the figures from that report on the number of Americans aged 12 and older who were current (in the last month) users of illicit drugs:
1996: 13,000,000, constituting 6.4% of the population.
1997: 13,900,000, constituting 6.4% of the population.
1998: 13,800,000, constituting 6.3 % of the population.
1999: 13,000,000, constituting 6.4% of the population.
2000: 14,000,000, constituting 6.3% of the population.
2001: 15,000,000, constituting 7.1% of the population.
2002: 19,500,000, constituting 8.3% of the population.
2003: 19,000,000, constituting 8.2% of the population.
2004: 19,100,000, constituting 7.9% of the population.
2005: 19,700,000, constituting 8.1% of the population.
2006: 20,400,000, constituting 8.3% of the population.
Just to state the obvious, in eleven years, seven million four hundred thousand more people became consumers of illicit drugs. Many have fallen to the crack cocaine or methamphetamine epidemics that rage in different parts of the country. Others have found no effective way to beat their heroin habits. Young people have decided to experiment with club drugs such as Ecstasy while out partying. Or maybe they snort some OxyContin they got from a friend who stole it from his mom.
Many of today’s drugs are far more potent or addictive than drugs of the past. Methamphetamine, crack cocaine, Ecstasy and OxyContin can all be quickly addictive. Marijuana can be as much as eight times more potent than marijuana from a few decades ago. The drug problems of today’s young people are in many cases far more dangerous than the problems their parent’s experienced twenty or thirty years ago.
As it is far easier to become addicted, drug rehab is needed in far more cases to help a person resume a normal life once they have become dependent on a drug.