New Study Shows Prescription Drug Use Down, Drugged Driving Down, Heroin Use Up and Other Trends of Abuse
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, conducted the Substance Abuse and Mental HealthServices Administration (SAMHSA), which was released today, shows a mix of both positive and negative trends. The report indicates a 14% drop in the number of Americans (18-25) who used prescription medication non-medically in the past month. This decline has driven an overall 12% drop in the number of Americans abusing prescription drugs. However, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of The Office of National Drug Control Policy, acknowledged that the rise in heroin use (373,000 in 2007 to 620,000 in 2011) could be attributed to the switching from prescription drug pain relievers to heroin.
On the positive, other findings in this report indicate that past year drugged driving rates are down 3.7%. This is a 12% decrease from 2009. On the negative, marijuana continues to remain the most used illicit drug. In 2011, 7% of Americans were current marijuana users - up from 5.8% in 2007. The report also notes that of the 19.9 million current illicit drug users aged 18 or older in 2011, 13.1 million (65%) were employed.
The fact that 65% of those using illicit drugs are in our workplaces is extremely alarming. This disturbing reality poses a great threat to employers and the prosperity of our country. The impact of employee drug use extends beyond the individual employee. Workers who use drugs cost their employers about twice as much in medical claims as do non-drug-using employees. Employees who use drugs are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a workplace accident and 5 times more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim. They are also a danger to their fellow worker. Since marijuana is the most used illicit drug, this trend is only going to get worse if marijuana is legalized. In order to protect the public, it is time to aggressively push back against marijuana legalization for any purposes!
Full Survey Here