A recent government study finds marijuana topping the illicit drug market among American adults and teens.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) polled a total of 70,000 U.S. citizens ages 12+ regarding their 2012 drug use habits. The survey concluded increased heroin and marijuana use rates over previous surveys.
According to SAMHSA, marijuana’s continued popularity among Americans is nothing new, with 7.3% of those surveyed admitting to smoking in 2012 – a climb from 7% in 2011 and 5.8% in 2007.
Routine or daily use of marijuana rose to 7.6 million in 2012 from 5.1 million in 2007.
Heroin use increased significantly, jumping from 373,000 users in 2007 to a whopping 669,000 in the recent study.
Many blame the rise in heroin use to an increase in prescription painkiller addiction, as heroin’s lower price and accessibility offer a more convenient and affordable pill alternative.
As for first-time users, the highest numbers were associated with marijuana (2.4 million), prescription painkillers (1.9 million), tranquilizers (1.4 million) MDMA, or Ecstasy (0.9 million), inhalants, cocaine and stimulants (0.6 - 0.7 million).
As a whole, illicit use varied little from 2011 poll results: About 9.2% of the United States adult and teen population claimed they were currently using in 2012, roughly 24 million Americans 12+.
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