US cocaine use cut by half, while marijuana consumption jumps


March 10, 2014
Brain & Behavior

The use of cocaine dropped sharply across the United States from 2006 to 2010, while the amount of marijuana consumed increased significantly during the same period, according to a new report.

Studying illegal drug use nationally from 2000 to 2010, researchers found the amount of marijuana consumed by Americans increased by more than 30 percent from 2006 to 2010, while cocaine consumption fell by about half. Meanwhile, heroin use was fairly stable throughout the decade.

Methamphetamine consumption dramatically increased during the first half of the decade and then declined, but researchers did not have enough information to make a credible estimate of the drug’s use from 2008 to 2010.

The findings come from a report compiled for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy by researchers affiliated with the RAND Drug Policy Research Center.

“Having credible estimates of the number of heavy drug users and how much they spend is critical for evaluating policies, making decisions about treatment funding and understanding the drug revenues going to criminal organizations,” said Beau Kilmer, the study’s lead author and co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center. “This work synthesizes information from many sources to present the best estimates to date for illicit drug consumption and spending in the United States.”

Because the project only generated estimates through 2010, researchers say the report does not address the recent reported spike in heroin use or the consequences of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington. The report also does not try to explain the causes behind changes in drug use or evaluate the effectiveness of drug control strategies.

The study, published on the website of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, provides estimates of the amount of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine used each year from 2000 to 2010. The study includes estimates of retail spending on illicit drugs and the number of chronic users, who account for a majority of drug consumption.

Researchers say that drug users in the United States spent on the order of $100 billion annually on cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine throughout the decade. While the amount remained stable from 2000 to 2010, the spending shifted. While much more was spent on cocaine than on marijuana in 2000, the opposite was true by 2010.

“Our analysis shows that Americans likely spent more than one trillion dollars on cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine between 2000 and 2010,” Kilmer said.

The surge in marijuana use appears to be related to an increase in the number of people who reported using the drug on a daily or near-daily basis.

The estimates for marijuana are rooted in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which surveys nearly 70,000 individuals each year. Estimates for cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine are largely based on information from the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program, or ADAM. The final estimates also incorporated information from other data sources

However, since the federal government recently halted funding for ADAM, researchers say it will be considerably harder to track the abuse of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine in the future.

“The ADAM program provided unique insights about those who abused hard drugs and how much they spent on these substances,” said Jonathan Caulkins, a study co-author and the Stever Professor of Operations Research and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. “It’s a tragedy that 2013 was the last year for ADAM. It is such an important data system for understanding drug problems.”

To improve future estimates, the report recommends investments in programs like ADAM that collect detailed data from heavy users. It also recommends that federal agencies revise some of the questions on existing self-report surveys.



US cocaine use cut by half, while marijuana consumption jumps

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One Response to US cocaine use cut by half, while marijuana consumption jumps

  1. METIN GUNDUZ March 10, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

    Addictive substances not only cause `addiction` but also interfere `judgment` and sound decision making , when voting majority of any population or an individual State legalizes `addictive ` and potentially harmful substances they take certain risks alongside their decision to legalize . What is actually important is the well documented `delusional` and `hallucinogenic` as well as `psychosis` inducing potential of marihuana . The literature sample at this link http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2811144/
    In addition to above , smoking `Pot` is no different smoking Cigarette as far as ‘inhaling toxic harmful gas of Carbon Monoxide `CO` of course no filter in the world can filter out the toxic Carbon Monoxide that poisons the brain for sure .
    Punch line is ; who wants to share the same highway same road with these individuals who has been smoking `Pot` ? or the worse be driven –God forbid- by someone who has been smoking pot – simply because it is legal to do so ..
    Let me add some literature as well as real facts here :
    MARIJUANA USE AND FATAL CAR CRUSHES “TRIPLED” ..!

    Trends in Alcohol and Other Drugs Detected in Fatally Injured Drivers in the United States, 1999–2010 (* )

    Feb. 4, 2014 (Health Day News) — The legalization of marijuana is an idea that is gaining momentum in the United States, but there may be a dark side to pot becoming more commonplace, a new study suggests.

    Fatal crashes involving marijuana use tripled during the previous decade, fueling some of the overall increase in drugged-driving traffic deaths, researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health report.

    “Currently, one of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes would test positive for marijuana,” said co-author Dr. Guohua Li, director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia. “If this trend continues, in five or six years non-alcohol drugs will overtake alcohol to become the most common substance involved in deaths related to impaired driving.”

    The research team drew its conclusions from crash statistics from six states that routinely perform toxicology tests on drivers involved in fatal car wrecks — California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and West Virginia. The statistics included more than 23,500 drivers who died within one hour of a crash between 1999 and 2010.

    Alcohol contributed to about the same percentage of traffic fatalities throughout the decade, about 40 percent, Li said.
    But drugs played an increasingly prevalent role in fatal crashes, the researchers found. Drugged driving accounted for more than 28 percent of traffic deaths in 2010, up from more than 16 percent in 1999.

    Marijuana proved to be the main drug involved in the increase, contributing to 12 percent of 2010 crashes compared with 4 percent in 1999.

    http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20140204/fatal-car-crashes-involving-pot-use-have-tripled-in-us-study-finds

    Abstract :

    Drugged driving is a safety issue of increasing public concern. Using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System for 1999–2010, we assessed trends in alcohol and other drugs detected in drivers who were killed within 1 hour of a motor vehicle crash in 6 US states (California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and West Virginia) that routinely performed toxicological testing on drivers involved in such crashes. Of the 23,591 drivers studied, 39.7% tested positive for alcohol and 24.8% for other drugs. During the study period, the prevalence of positive results for non alcohol drugs rose from 16.6% in 1999 to 28.3% in 2010 (Z = −10.19, P < 0.0001), whereas the prevalence of positive results for alcohol remained stable. The most commonly detected non alcohol drug was cannabinol, the prevalence of which increased from 4.2% in 1999 to 12.2% in 2010 (Z = −13.63, P < 0.0001). The increase in the prevalence of non alcohol drugs was observed in all age groups and both sexes. These results indicate that nonalcoholic drugs, particularly marijuana, are increasingly detected in fatally injured drivers.

    ( * ) http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/01/27/aje.kwt327.abstract?sid=310cc5fd-bfdb-4cf9-a3d9-7f60790a3cd5

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