National Drug Survey: More Americans Smoking Pot
The number of Americans using illicit drugs is rising, a new government survey shows. Nearly 9 percent of the U.S. population, or 22.6 million people, abused prescription drugs last year or regularly used marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, or inhalants, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health released Thursday. Marijuana was the most commonly used drug, with 17.4 million regular users—or 6.9 percent of the population—compared with 5.8 percent in 2007. Nearly half of kids ages 12 to 17 said it would be "fairly easy" or "very easy" to get marijuana, while one in five said it would be easy to get cocaine, and one in 10 said it would be easy to get heroin, CNN reports.
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Talking to Teens About Marijuana—9 Do's and Don'ts
Mary Jane won the popularity contest at your kid's school last year. Students in a national survey said they strongly prefer marijuana to other drugs, and more junior high and high schoolers say they're toking up.
The rise in 2010 was small but stood out because it registered across all three age groups sampled in the 36th annual "Monitoring the Future" survey of 46,000 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders. It also turned up at every level of use—in the last day, month, year, or ever, U.S. News reported in 2010. Seventeen percent of 8th graders, 33 percent of 10th graders, and 43 percent of 12th graders said they'd toked up at least once in their life, about one percentage point higher in all groups than in 2009. And one in 16 12th-graders got high 20 or more times in the previous month compared with about 1 in 20 last year, a jump of 25 percent. [Read more: Talking to Teens About Marijuana—9 Do's and Don'ts.]
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Teens Lie About Drug Use, (And So Do Parents)
Teenagers' confidential reports about illicit drug use are used by doctors and public health experts to measure the extent of the problem, and to help teens in trouble. But it turns out that teens fib big time in those anonymous surveys—and their parents do, too, U.S. News reported in 2010.
Researchers asked 432 African-American teenagers and their parents to participate in an anonymous survey about their use of cocaine, opiates, and marijuana, and said they would also be drug-tested. Of the 211 teenagers whose hair was tested for cocaine, 2 said they used it—while 69, or 34 percent, tested positive, according to a study in Pediatrics. Of the 244 parents tested, 15 said they had used cocaine, while 69, or 28 percent, tested positive.
The parents surveyed were pretty bad at guessing if their child was using alcohol or drugs. For instance, 9.6 percent of the parents said their teenager drank alcohol, while 25 percent of the teenagers said they did. With marijuana, 9.5 percent of parents said their teenager smoked dope, while 17 percent of the teens said they did. [Read more: Teens Lie About Drug Use, (And So Do Parents).]
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