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07-01-08, 10:52 PM #1
U.S. leads world in substance abuse, WHO finds
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States leads the world in rates of experimenting with marijuana and cocaine despite strict drug laws, World Health Organization researchers said on Tuesday.
Countries with looser drug laws have lower rates of abuse, the researchers report in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine.
The survey of 54,000 people in 17 countries found that 16 percent of people in the United States had used cocaine in their lifetimes -- far higher than the next highest rate, found in New Zealand, where 4.3 percent of people reported having used cocaine.
More than 42 percent of Americans admitted to having tried cannabis, closely followed by 41 percent in New Zealand, Dr. Louisa Degenhardt of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and an international team of colleagues found.
Americans were also the most likely to have smoked, with 74 percent saying they used tobacco at some time in their lives, although current smoking rates are far lower at 21 percent.
The next-highest lifetime smoking rate was found in Lebanon at 67 percent, with 60 percent of Mexicans and the 61 percent of Ukrainians having ever smoked.
"Globally, drug use is not distributed evenly and is not simply related to drug policy, since countries with stringent user-level illegal drug policies did not have lower levels of use than countries with liberal ones," Degenhardt's team wrote.
Alcohol was by far the most common substance used, the researchers found in their face-to-face interviews with people.
"Alcohol use by age 15 years was far more common in European countries than in the Middle East and Africa," they wrote.
By the age of 21, up to 99 percent of Europeans, 92 percent of Japanese, 94 percent of New Zealanders and 93 percent of people in the Americas had tasted alcohol.
"Estimates were lower in the Middle East and Africa (40 percent to 63 percent)" the researchers wrote.
"In the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, and New Zealand, more than 60 percent of young people had started to drink by age 15 years," they added.
"These findings add to our understanding of substance abuse world-wide, and suggest that drug use is still a major problem in this country, pointing to the need for more effective prevention interventions," U.S. National Institutes of Health director Dr. Elias Zerhouni added in a statement.
The researchers said their findings shed light on drug, alcohol and smoking policy.
"The use of drugs seems to be a feature of more affluent countries," they wrote.
"The United States, which has been driving much of the world's drug research and drug policy agenda, stands out with higher levels of use of alcohol, cocaine, and cannabis, despite punitive illegal drug policies, as well as (in many U.S. states), a higher minimum legal alcohol drinking age than many comparable developed countries," they added.
"The Netherlands, with a less criminally punitive approach to cannabis use than the U.S., has experienced lower levels of use, particularly among younger adults."
Article Link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080701/hl_nm/drugs_who_dc
The study is available at http://medicine.plosjournals.org/per...=get-document& doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050141.
(Reporting by Maggie Fox, Editing by Michael Kahn and David Wiessler)
07-02-08, 06:00 AM #2
Good to know the "War on Drugs" is working. So naturally we should keep fighting it.
Anyone know what the definition of insanity is?"If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking." -Gen. George S. Patton
07-02-08, 12:35 PM #3Originally Posted by Bill Cosby\\` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
`` ` ` ` (3--(____)
"...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
07-02-08, 01:31 PM #4
I suspect it has more to do with higher disposable income, easier access to supply because of greater shipping routes, and easy access to thieving to support the habit.
That is not to say the war on drugs isn't working, but I don't believe the war on drugs is the proximate cause.I'm your huckleberry...
Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentus telum est!
You can be the weapon, and the gun in your hand is a tool - or the gun is a weapon and you are the tool.
I was looking for a saint who was a devil of a lover,
but every girl I found was either one way or the other...
07-02-08, 01:40 PM #5
Well if you want to wax philosophical on why people do drugs, I think best explaination came from the show Oz:
I ain't saying drugs are good. But when your past is past and your present sucks and your future holds nothing but broken promises and dead dreams, the drugs'll kill the pain. Listen up, America, you ain't ever gonna get rid of drugs until you cure pain."If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking." -Gen. George S. Patton
07-03-08, 04:22 AM #6
and all the WHO's in WHOville wonder........--
"And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes, I'll see you on the dark side of the moon..."
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