According to a new government survey, marijuana continues to be the illicit drug of choice for many Americans. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) surveyed 70,000 Americans over the age of 12 about their drug use in 2012. They found higher rates of marijuana and heroin use over the previous year's survey. In addition, daily or almost daily marijuana use among Americans increased from 5.1 million in 2007 to 7.6 million in 2012.
"These statistics represent real people, families and communities dealing with the devastating consequences of abuse and addiction," said SAMHSA administrator, Pamela Hyde, in a statement. "We must strive to prevent further abuse and provide the hope of treatment and recovery to all people needing help."
While the rate of drug use has actually declined among teenagers, it is rising rapidly among older Americans. According to SAMHSA, illicit drug use among adults 50 to 54 has doubled since 2002. For people 55 to 59, such drug use has more than tripled.
This increase may be attributed to the fact that older adults have easier access to prescription painkillers than teens or young adults. In addition, individuals from states with lax marijuana laws may be more apt to use the substance.
The researchers also found that heroin use was up among Americans of all age groups, with 669,000 users in 2012, compared to 620,000 in 2011 and 373,000 users reported in 2007. Many more addicts are turning to heroin when they lose access to opioid painkillers.
Call Intervention Services today if someone you know is struggling with addiction. We can put you in touch with an experienced interventionist who can get your loved one into an effective treatment program.