Below is a message from the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy to local prevention providers. This data and reports further confirm what prevention providers have been warning ever since the lie of Medical Marijuana began to take shape youth use is on the way up. One area where prevention providers have been looking to get to is kids in Elementary and they have been getting resistance due to the thought that these kids are to young to be involved in drug use. This study show a major increase in drug use among youth 12 and older meaning kids in 6th grade are being introduced to drugs.
Another thing that the data shows is a driving force behind an increase in youth use is the widespread use in adults. This matches what the Rialto Community Coalition found in February during their Strategic Planning Session was that one of the biggest reasons youth use drugs especially Marijuana is because of the lax attitude from adults. The investigative reports from David Goldstein on medical marijuana dispensary’s acting as a hub to get Marijuana to youth should be an eye opening period for parents.
We need to support local organizations that are taking this issue seriously and local candidates that value youth health over money from the Pro Drug Legalization Lobby. On of these organizations is the Rialto Community Coalition that meets the first Tuesday of the month from 6-7:30pm at Fire Station 202 at 1700 North Riverside Ave. Another group working locally and more regionally is Inland Empire Youth 4 Today a local network of prevention providers and business owners looking for innovative ways to engage and grow tomorrows leaders.
Today, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) released the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report which shows progress in reducing some forms of substance use – especially among adolescents. Substance use levels in many areas, however have remained relatively constant.
SAMHSA issued the 2014 NSDUH report on mental and substance use disorders as part of the kick off for the 26th annual observance of National Recovery Month. Recovery Month broadens public awareness to the fact that behavioral health is essential to health, prevention works, treatment for substance use and mental disorders is effective, and people can and do recover from these disorders.
With regard to substance use, the report found some areas of progress, particularly among adolescents. For example, the percentage of adolescents aged 12 to 17 who were current (past month) tobacco users declined by roughly half from 15.2 percent in 2002 to 7.0 percent in 2014. Similarly, the level of adolescents engaged in past month illegal alcohol use dropped from 17.6 percent to 11.5 percent over the same period. The level of current nonmedical users of prescription pain relievers decreased from 3.2 percent in 2002 to 1.9 percent in 2014 among adolescents aged 12 to 17.
Marijuana continues to be the most commonly used illicit drug. In 2014, roughly 8.4 percent of Americans age 12 and older were current users of marijuana – up from 7.5 percent in 2013. Marijuana use is especially growing among those aged 26 and older – from 5.6 percent in 2013 to 6.6 percent in 2014. The percentage of adolescents who were current marijuana users in 2014 (7.4 percent) was similar to recent years.
Although the survey shows nonmedical pain reliever use continues to be the second most common type of illicit drug use, the percentage of people aged 12 or older in 2014 who were current nonmedical users of pain relievers (1.6 percent) was lower than in most years since 2002, and about the same as in 2013. However, current heroin use increased from 0.1 percent of the population age 12 and older in 2013 to 0.2 in 2014.
Overall, the use of illicit drugs – including marijuana – among Americans aged 12 and older increased from 9.4 percent in 2013 to 10.2 percent in 2014. This was driven particularly by the increase in adult marijuana use.
The data released today show some signs of progress, including lower levels of nonmedical prescription drug use and teen alcohol and tobacco use; however, we still have significant challenges to address. We know that evidence-based prevention efforts are the most effective way to reduce drug use and to support the roughly 90 percent of American youth who do not use illicit drugs.
This Administration will continue to expand community-based efforts to prevent drug use, pursue ‘smart on crime’ approaches to drug enforcement, increase access to treatment, work to reduce overdose deaths, and support the millions of Americans in recovery.
Michael P. Botticelli, Director
Office of National Drug Control Policy