In 2013, the annual national survey was conducted by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to find the condition of illicit drug use in the United States. The result, they found, was terrible. About 24.6 million Americans of 12 years of age or older were involved in illicit drug use in the last month, which was almost 9.4% of the total population. The survey showed an 8.3% rise from the one in 2002. The whole devastating picture of increasing illicit drug use all over America can be termed as ‘The Great American Setback’, where an old infection has come back to haunt a new generation.
According to the survey, the increase is mostly in the use of marijuana, which is the most commonly used drugs. In 2007, 14.5 million people aged 12 or older were addicted to this narcotic which was 5.8% of the total population. But just over 6 years in 2013, the number is almost 24.6 million (9.4%), which supports the overall increasing illicit drug use situation.
Apart from marijuana, the use of other drugs has either stabilized or declined over the last decade. In 2013, 2.5% people aged 12 or older had used prescription drugs nonmedically which include sedatives, stimulants, pain killers and tranquilizers, where 0.5% had used hallucinogens including LSD and ecstasy.
A decrease in cocaine use was observed in the survey. In 2013, the number of cocaine users was 1.5 million, which was much less than the number of 2 to 2.4 million between 2002 to 2007.
Breaking Bad, one of the best TV series of all times, highlighted mostly on the growing use, implications and consequences of crystal methamphetamine. But the survey showed a complete opposite reaction in the use of meth, as the number went high with 595000 current users in 2013, when the series came to an end rising from 353000 users in 2010. Apparently it seemed, the tv series brought a great attraction of meth to the average viewer.
There was also a complete reflection of the users of these narcotics. The survey said, most of the drug addicted people start using drugs at their teenage. Among the 2.8 million new users of illicit drugs in 2013, about 54.1% were under 18 years of age. And Most of the new users start with marijuana. Prescription pain killers are also very common among the beginners. In the late teens and twenties, the use of drugs is highest. 22.6% of 18-20 years old people were reported using illicit drugs in 2013. There was also a terrifying news of increasing drug use among people in the fifties and early sixties. The number was much higher than those of the previous generations and Drug Tests in Bulk reports that the senior population of substance abusers is in fact growing.
There is also a prevailing large treatment gap, as only 2.5 million received treatment at a specialty facility where about 22.7 millions needed treatment for a problem related to drugs. Most of this drug users have no idea about the consequences of using drugs, where this little sense of familiarity can be inherently dangerous and can be a headache for the government.