Father or son: who has the bigger problem? It appears that 20-somethings are choosing prescription medication to get their jollies, while their parents are sticking to traditional illegal drugs such as cocaine.
The report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the US said illicit drug use among those aged 55 to 59 more than doubled, to 4.1% in 2007 from the previous year.
The government's annual report assessing illicit drug use offered a mixed picture. It found that 4.6% of men and women ages 18 to 25 reported use of prescription pain drugs for non-medical reasons in 2007, a 12% rise from the previous year, continuing the rising trend of recent years.
About 1.7% in this age group used cocaine in 2007, a 23% drop from 2006, while 0.4% of young adults reported using methamphetamines, down by about a third.
14.4 million using marijuana
The survey results were based on interviews with about 67 500 people nationwide. The report found that an estimated 19.9 million Americans ages 12 or older used illicit drugs in the month before responding to the survey, accounting for 8% of that population, compares to 8.3% in 2006.
Illicit drugs included marijuana, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants and prescription drugs used for nonmedical purposes.
Marijuana was the most common, with an estimated 14.4 million users. The report estimated that 5.8% of Americans were marijuana users in 2007, compared to 6% in 2006. There were an estimated 2.1 million cocaine users.
Illicit drug use remained stable among adolescents (ages 12 to 17) last year, the report said, but rates declined between 2002 and 2007, from 11.6% to 9.5%.
The report also said an estimated 24.3 million Americans ages 18 and up experienced serious psychological distress over the past year, and 16.5 million Americans had suffered at least one major depressive episode. – (Reuters Health, September 2008)
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