A study just released by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that marijuana use in the United States has been increasing since states began legalizing medical marijuana.
The study indicates that fueled by higher marijuana use, illicit drug use as a whole is up across the country even as the use of most other drugs is down.
The number of users of marijuana in America rose from 14.4 million in 2007 to 17.4 million in 2010, while the numbers of methamphetamine users aged 12+ years dropped from 731,000 in 2006 to 353,000 in 2010. Illicit drug usage overall rose between 2008 and 2010, according to a SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) national survey.
The study breaks out drug use trends this way:
Illicit drug usage among people aged 18-25 years rose from 19.6% to 21.2% from 2008 to 2010.
The number of methamphetamine users dropped by half from 2006 (731,000) to 2010 (353,000).
Cocaine usage fell from 2.4 million users in 2006 to 1.5 million in 2010.
Alcohol use among 12-17 year olds fell from 14.7% in 2009 to 13.6% in 2010.
The study notes that while the majority of illegal drug users have full-time jobs, the rate of drug use is much higher among the unemployed. The study also showed that alcohol use has gone down slightly among adults.