Study: 22 million Americans use illegal drugs
Marijuana is the most common drug for first-time users, according to the study.
September 8th, 2011
06:10 PM ET

Study: 22 million Americans use illegal drugs

More than 22 million Americans age 12 and older - nearly 9% of the U.S. population - use illegal drugs, according to the government’s 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

The overall rate of drug use is only slightly higher than the 2009 study but nearly a percentage point above the 2008 survey.

“I am encouraged there were no significant increases in drug use over the past year,” Gil Kerlikowske, the U.S. director of national drug control policy, said in a statement. “However, today’s survey also shows that drug use in America remains at unacceptable levels.”

Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants and some prescription drugs used for non-medical purposes were counted in the survey. Marijuana was the most commonly used drug, with more than 17 million users in 2010, 3 million more than in the 2007 survey.

In 2010, 7 million people used psychotherapeutic drugs (including stimulants, tranquilizers, painkillers and sedatives) for non-medical purposes, and 1.2 million people used hallucinogens, according to the study.  The numbers are similar to the past few years.

One and a half million people used cocaine, similar to recent years' study results but a drop of nearly 1 million from 2006.  Methamphetamine use dropped by more than half between 2006 and 2010, to only a 10th of 1% of the population, according to the survey.

The number of young people using drugs has continued to increase. In 2008, 19.6% of 18- to 25-year-olds used drugs, but in 2010’s survey, that number had climbed to 21.5%. The increase is largely due to marijuana use, according to the study.

Drug use among 12- to 17-year-olds stayed steady in the survey, at about 10%.

States allowing medical marijuana could be fueling the increases in drug use, Kerlikowske said.

“Emerging research reveals potential links between state laws permitting access to smoked medical marijuana and higher rates of marijuana use,” his statement said. “I urge every family - but particularly those in states targeted by pro-drug political campaigns - to redouble their efforts to shield young people from serious harm by educating them about the real health and safety consequences caused by illegal drug use.”

Marijuana is the most common drug for first-time users, according to the study. Among people who started using drugs in the year before the survey, 62% said they first used marijuana, 26% first used prescription drugs like tranquilizers and stimulants, and 9% first used inhalants.

The age when people start using marijuana is going up.  The study found that in 2010, the average age of a first-time marijuana user was 18.4 years. In the 2002 study, it was 17 years old.

Nearly half of youths between 12 and 17 years old said it would be "fairly easy" or "very easy" to get marijuana, one in five said it would be easy to get cocaine, and one in 10 said it would be easy to get heroin, according to the study.

Alcohol use

About 131 million people 12 and older in the United States drink alcohol, according to the 2010 survey.  That’s roughly half the population and similar to the year prior.  Nearly a quarter of the population age 12 and older participated in what the study calls binge drinking, or having five or more drinks in the same occasion, at least once in the past month. Nearly 7% of the population reported binge drinking on five days in the month before the survey.

Ten million 12- to 20-year-olds drink, according to the survey, and 65% of those binge drink. These numbers represent a drop of about 2 percentage points each from the 2002 survey.

More than 11% of the population drove under the influence of alcohol in the year before the study. The number is a drop of about 3 percentage points from the 2002 study.

The most likely age group to drive after drinking was 21- to 25-year-olds, according to the study.

Tobacco use

Nearly 70 million Americans age 12 and over use tobacco, according to the study, more than a quarter of the population in that age group. The numbers represent a drop of about 3 percentage points from the 2002 survey.  In both studies, cigarette smoking made up the majority of the tobacco use, followed by cigars and smokeless tobacco. However, only cigarette use significantly declined during those years.

The use of tobacco by younger people has declined.  The 2002 study showed that about 15% of people age 12 to 17 used tobacco, while the 2010 numbers were closer to 11%.

Nearly 59% of new smokers in the 2010 survey were under 18 when they first started smoking.


More than 23 million Americans age 12 and older needed some sort of treatment for drug or alcohol use problems, according to the 2010 study. But only 2.6 million people got that treatment.  Of the people who didn’t get treatment, most indicated in the survey that they did not feel they need it.

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Filed under: Addiction • Alcohol • Marijuana

soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. M

    22 million? Is that all? Boy, must be a rich bunch to be responsible for the billions supplying the Mexican Cartels or maybe the American Gov is really kicking the cartels some money so they keep the pure drugs coming and addict more people. Or... maybe the gov is full of crap and just hyping up their drug war stories with sensationalism so the can keep blowing our taxes on a lost cause. Like any war – war is money.

    September 8, 2011 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sharky

      Conversely, maybe The war on drugs IS working given such a small percent are doing drugs.

      September 8, 2011 at 22:20 | Report abuse |
    • George

      Those numbers are so far off it isn't funny. This is just another piece of garbage journalism that has no basis in fact.

      September 8, 2011 at 22:54 | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Living 40 miles from the border of Mexico, I would say that it's not "sensationalized" (sp?) but rather understated...

      September 8, 2011 at 23:08 | Report abuse |
    • Betty O.

      Oh, I bet that number is much higher, this is just those who *admitted* to it. I find it laughable that the guy is more concerned about a teen possible smoking a joint and getting parents to fight the good fight against poor marijuana than he is about 12 year olds BINGE DRINKING. Priorities people, priorities.

      September 8, 2011 at 23:23 | Report abuse |
  2. Julie


    September 8, 2011 at 20:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Julie


      September 8, 2011 at 20:27 | Report abuse |
  3. Mary Smith

    Good grief!!! These statistics probably came from asking participants whether or not they used illegal drugs this year and then expecting participants to give an honest answer. The stats are alarming because they are so low and because they are so unsubstantiated. More government BS.

    September 8, 2011 at 21:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Libido

      I agree. These figures seem quite low, especially for pot use. I would guess that the real numbers concerning pot use are closer to 20%. A survey like this is bound to be way off.

      September 8, 2011 at 22:44 | Report abuse |
    • K-Man

      Did you know 80% of statistics are made up on the spot?

      September 8, 2011 at 22:55 | Report abuse |
    • Jackattack

      A study done by someone other than the government would be A LOT more useful.

      September 8, 2011 at 22:59 | Report abuse |
    • jackson5

      60% of the time it works every time!

      September 8, 2011 at 23:24 | Report abuse |
  4. katiepea

    the number is probably twice that at least

    September 8, 2011 at 21:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. grace

    it is definitely more than 22 out of 300+ mil...
    and 1.2 mil doing hallucinogens ya rite..

    September 8, 2011 at 21:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. CDaeda

    Illegal drugs? What about those using legal drugs for additions like pain killers? Drugs do not have to be illegal to be an addiction.

    September 8, 2011 at 21:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • keef

      try reading the article first. then comment

      September 8, 2011 at 22:06 | Report abuse |
    • FreakB0x

      thats the scary part, add in all the wackos eating legal painkillers and its probably 20%

      September 8, 2011 at 22:46 | Report abuse |
  7. T3chsupport

    What about people who use legal drugs for recreational purposes?

    Also, marijuana is not the first drug most people try, it's just the first ILLEGAL drug they try. Almost everyone who tries marijuana has tried caffeine, and most of them have also tried alcohol or cigarettes.

    Stop telling people what they can and can't put in their own bodies.

    September 8, 2011 at 21:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • nini

      THANK you! Alcohol takes more lives than marijuana yet everyone wants to fight against legalizing the latter.

      September 8, 2011 at 22:40 | Report abuse |
  8. Jazzy

    This can't be right. Figures are very low.

    September 8, 2011 at 21:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lauren

      You made me laugh my ass off..sooooo true

      September 8, 2011 at 23:16 | Report abuse |
  9. Space Jim

    Where's the number of people using anti-depressants?

    September 8, 2011 at 21:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. human

    that number has to be higher. A ton of people smoke. Weed never hurt anyone that I am aware of. Cheetos are good.


    September 8, 2011 at 21:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Whaaa?

    Um, states with medical marijuana users that are using marijuana for medical purposes are not using an illegal drug.

    September 8, 2011 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dripping Design

      Umm yes they are, marijuana is not legal anywhere for any purpose in the United States of America. Until this law is changed, grandmaeaiting a homemade brownie to ease her painis no different than the guy smoking a joint on the corner to get stoned, not that I see anything wrong with either scenario.

      September 8, 2011 at 22:40 | Report abuse |
    • Jackattack

      No, medicinal marijuana is legal in some states including Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, and California. It is not surprising then, that these states have the highest (excuse the pun) rates of illegal marijuana use. If you don't believe me then research it yourself before you post. Making marijuana available for medical purposes will make it more accessible to those who don't need it for medical purposes, it's undeniable. Not saying it's a bad thing at all, i'm for full-scale legalization.

      September 8, 2011 at 22:58 | Report abuse |
  12. peakarach

    I think the real number are around 55% at least.

    September 8, 2011 at 21:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. jdoe

    The real number is likely much higher since many will not admit to it. On the bright side Americans can always blame Mexico for their drug habit.

    September 8, 2011 at 21:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ferdez

      Mexican cartels supply what your kids want, drugs. If you people would stop taking them or at least have some control, well cartels would b out of bussiness, comon sense.

      September 8, 2011 at 21:53 | Report abuse |
    • adikos

      common sense would suggest that the government (specifically local/state) would benefit from making some drugs legal and cut out the cartels. its not like drugs won't grow in the US. people should be free to consume what they want to consume, its just currently the cartels benefit from it. their gain, the US's loss.

      September 8, 2011 at 22:22 | Report abuse |
    • sharky


      Oh now come on, common sense and logic are lost on a LOT of people in this country. They would rather legalize everything, open pandora's box, down the line say opps we were wrong, than actually acknowledge drugs are bad and NOT do them. I know such a stretch to actually not do drugs. Damn that common sense.

      September 8, 2011 at 22:23 | Report abuse |
  14. bmull

    "Emerging research reveals potential links between state laws permitting access to smoked medical marijuana and higher rates of marijuana use."

    Emerging from where, ber bunghole? Which is more plausible: that states that are relatively tolerant of marijuana are more likely to have dispensaries... or that the existence of dispensaries cause more non-patients to use marijuana?

    September 8, 2011 at 21:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Flying high

      I would assume it's because in States where medical marijuana is legal, people without their marijuana cards are more likely to admit to smoking pot because it's not seen as a big deal.
      I've never bought a sack from a dispensary, nor have I ever had difficulty hooking one up.

      September 9, 2011 at 00:21 | Report abuse |
  15. hhmmm

    They didn't poll me or anyone I know, so how do they know how many people use or don't use drugs or alcohol? The report should include a disclaimer "Of the people asked" 9% responded that they used drugs. Ill bet a high percentage of the 91% that said no were lying.

    September 8, 2011 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • chaotic disorder

      I agree! It makes this article even harder to stomach.. I don't know why this is a topic that keeps coming up. Not all of the population will be honest in a survey. Also a study of just some people and not others is short sighted. Why should they? Do people that commit other crimes participate in surveys? Why don't those studies exist? It's because most people will not be honest when they think they will get in trouble. This isn't a new concept.

      September 9, 2011 at 00:40 | Report abuse |
  16. JOH

    When I was younger, I believed that only select few people abused drugs like I did. I thought there was something wrong with us. Now, VERY FEW people I know use drugs and that includes my family and couple of my friends. Oh, and marijuana is not a narcotic. You take away marijuana from the illegal drug section and that number of use immediately drops by a lot. And the abuse of prescription pill was brought on by the pharmaceutical companies. Those pills are NOT medicine. They kill your kidneys and start new strains of virus/illnesses as they have proven.

    September 8, 2011 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. chaotic disorder

    So which is it? Is there 22 million people doing illegal drugs, or are there more than 23 million needing help. How can we take any of the stats seriously when there are two different numbers for the same statistic. How can 23 million people need help but there are only 22 million doing illegal drugs! Is any of these numbers accurate?

    September 8, 2011 at 21:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Matt

      That 23 million figure includes people who need either drug OR alcohol treatment, not only the drug usrs

      September 8, 2011 at 22:40 | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      The 23 million people seeking treatment includes alcohol users, which adds some large fraction of 131 million people (I'm sure a lot of the 22 million people who have used illicit drugs use alcohol).

      The total number isn't important; it's the trends. All things being equal, we probably have to assume that the same number of people lie about drug use each year, so the trend is more important.

      Lastly, the number 22 million reflects the number of people who used illegal drugs in 2010. There are lots of people that have used illegal drugs early in life and then not later. If you're talking about total life-time exposure to illegal drugs the number is probably closer to 60-80% based on "Monitoring the Future Study" from Michigan.

      September 8, 2011 at 22:42 | Report abuse |
    • chaotic disorder

      Ok, I re-read it and I see the part about the combination of alcohol and drug abusers. I was making this statement basically because I can't stand it when news organizations put out stories that are inaccurate. It also makes me wonder why we are talking about alcohol in an article labeled "Study: 22 million Americans use illegal drugs"

      September 9, 2011 at 00:32 | Report abuse |
  18. mark smith (texas)

    Ok how about 9% of college students take street ridlin to pass test or another 9% of teens drink underage or the 9% taking zanix on the street hey I'm up to 27% and I havennt even touched the illegal illegal ones yet. I think that this story, or the survey results have been padded. Not suprizing seeing how mary jane has been in the news a lot lately. I know that about 70 percent of the people I meet indulge in herb so I think 9% is way low

    September 8, 2011 at 21:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Corey

    Too bad this study doesn't include the even worse legal drugs that the pharmaceutical companies push.

    September 8, 2011 at 21:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Harvey

    I still can't believe tobacco and alcohol (both proven killers) are legal and marijuana is not. I am a father who has used both alcohol and marijuana in the distant past. From experience, I will say if my child was experimenting with drugs (which I definitely would not want); I would much rather have her using pot than alcohol.

    While I have educated my daughter quite well in this area; I will not be surprised if she tries drugs at some point. There will be no punishment, just love encouragement not to do it again. Beyond that I will have to respond appropriately should the situation worsen.

    Personally I am in favor of legalizing pot. This would remove criminal element and could generate tax revenue.

    September 8, 2011 at 22:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • chaotic disorder

      Exactly! More people are ruining their lives, hurt, injured, killed every day because of alcohol. Can anyone produce such evidence of this with Marijuana? I can say that from personal experience, unlike most people that has never tried Marijuana but also try to tell us how dangerous it is! What happened to personal accountability and leaving people to destroy their own lives if they want to! As long as someone can behave themselves while intoxicated, it shouldn't be an issue.

      September 9, 2011 at 00:49 | Report abuse |
  21. revenue

    Sounds like a lot of potential tax revenue

    September 8, 2011 at 22:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Harvey

      Pot is a weed that is dirt cheap to grow. If legalized I could see it sold in booze stores like cigarettes. It probably wouldn't cost more than $10 a pack; $5 of which would be tax.

      September 9, 2011 at 02:11 | Report abuse |
  22. Ed


    More like 50%

    September 8, 2011 at 22:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Phil

    And of that 9%, I bet 90% of those use just Marijuana. Legalize it already.

    September 8, 2011 at 22:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. wvgirl22

    The people who conducted this study are obviously on drugs. Have to be. How else could they publish such nonsense and expect anyone to believe it.

    September 8, 2011 at 22:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Icurheinie

    Having the word "illegal" in front of the word "marijuana" is a joke. Grow up America. And if states with "legal" medicinal marijuana are contributing to "illegal" drug use then that is a joke, too. In fact those states should not count at all – since it is legal. Is this news?

    September 8, 2011 at 22:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. MoMo

    pretty sure the number is more than that, not everyone will tell the truth and these types of stats are so unreliable.

    Unless you interview100% of the population, taking samples is just unreliable when it comes to these types of situation.

    September 8, 2011 at 22:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Nick O Laas

    Add a 0 to that 9 and you're probably still not there

    September 8, 2011 at 22:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Charles Scott

    Heroin use is at an all time high. It's cheap and abundant all over the country. Our children are dying because of this outbreak.
    Guess what? The CIA is controlling the heroin routes out of Afghanistan and bringing it right here to the USA on the cheap!

    September 8, 2011 at 22:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KeithTexas

      Governments have always controlled the heroin trade. That is no news; America is the biggest dealer now since taking over Afghanistan. There are American Marines guarding the poppy fields tonight.

      September 8, 2011 at 23:30 | Report abuse |
  29. hhmmm

    According to DrugScience.org, in 2002 it is estimated that 24million lbs of weed was IMPORTED. That number is based on DEA estimates based on how much the caught and guessing at how much made it in. It does NOT include domestic production. That would mean that if there are only 22 million users, each one of them smoked well over a whole pound a year. That is EACH person, no matter the age, and that's if none of the domestic production is used here. At .75grams per joint, and 453.5 grams in a pound that means each user smoked 724.7 joints per year or 2 a day every day for the whole year. Cant believe the numbers here are right.

    September 8, 2011 at 22:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Libido

      Nice catch. The figures are way, way off.

      September 8, 2011 at 22:50 | Report abuse |
  30. greg o

    So, if you eliminate the 17 million marijuana users, you have less than 5 million people using dangerous drugs? Turns out alcohol is our biggest problem. As 'cheap and abundant' as heroin may be, the usage is pretty small in relation to the population as a whole. What if we put all of the 'war on drugs' money toward social programs intended to head things off prior to abuse?

    September 8, 2011 at 22:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KeithTexas

      So, you think marajuana users don't cause any problems. There were sure a lot of them at the NA meetings for them not to be having problems.

      September 8, 2011 at 23:26 | Report abuse |
  31. McJesus

    Probably as FAR off the mark as are the bogus government unemployment figures.

    September 8, 2011 at 22:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Vic Almeida

    Now tell me what the ILLEGAL problem America is having???
    Instead of deporting people trying to me a decent living washing dishes or landscaping they should focus on a MUCH bigger problem, KIDS drug consumption. Want solve illegal immigration in America? STOP BUYING SO MUCH DRUG from Colombia. Look at the level of problems Mexico is having in order for Colombians to supply Americans with coke, heroine and crack. Stop worrying about jobs that you never wanted and start asking your goverment to ad more rehab clinics with profelssionals to help your kids.

    September 8, 2011 at 22:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Joe

    "Marijuana was the most commonly used drug,"

    Way to boost their numbers when it should't be illegal anyway. I personally have never used it, (and probably never will unless I have reason to.) but when you have good people in society stating that it has a useful purpose and should be legal, (Like doctors,) it may be time to rethink why some stupid laws are still on the books.

    "nearly 9% of the U.S. population...use illegal drugs"

    Including Marijuana on the list, I would think this number would be a bit higher. Maybe some people weren't exactly being completely honest? Can't blame them.

    September 8, 2011 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. adikos

    “I am encouraged there were no significant increases in drug use over the past year,” Gil Kerlikowske, the U.S. director of national drug control policy, said in a statement. “However, today’s survey also shows that drug use in America remains at unacceptable levels.”

    meh, Gil is legally allowed to lie, its in their charter. that said he is probably using data that is either made up or just wrong... i mean 9%, really?

    even if his numbers were correct, it is not a decline, all the money pumped into the drug war and lives that are ruined from it's enforcement have clearly not reduced consumption. time to end the charade and just pull the plug, it doesnt fool anyone anymore.

    we just had a huge issue of trying to cut funding for programs in our heavily bloated governmental system and here we are year after year pumping money into the drug war that could easily be cut or put else where. it has not, and will not do any good to continue flushing money down the drain.

    so my hat is off to Mr. Kerlikowske, keep up the lies and try to make yourself look good. the ONDCP's days are numbered.

    September 8, 2011 at 22:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Darlene

    Don't bullshtien me. The truth is that there are 9% of people in this country who do not use drugs of any kind
    The other 91% use something. This site is very entertaning though. Always good for a laugh

    September 8, 2011 at 22:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. wendy5

    how about the millions on prescribed drugs oxy comes to mind

    September 8, 2011 at 22:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Henson

    9%, Wow there is more then 9% of Americans in prison for drugs. 2010 we spent 15 billion+ on the war on drugs, with only 22 million using drugs seems like we are spending way to much on this with so few using!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 8, 2011 at 22:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KeithTexas

      There are 2.2 million people in prison and 95% of crime in America involve Drugs or Alcohol

      September 8, 2011 at 23:23 | Report abuse |
  38. ryan

    A big load of BS. What happens when you include alcohol into the factor–80 percent?

    September 8, 2011 at 22:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. JGibbs

    That number is only of admitted users...I'm sure the true stats are much higher...so much for the 40+ year war on drugs having any effect whatsoever. End the war on drugs and the war on the American people. When will the government finally wake up the fact that keeping drugs illegal will only drive prices up. Even if you dismantled every cartel tomorrow, another would rise up the next day gladly filling the void. Prohibition didn't work in the 20's and it doesn't work now....As for the fools that say making drugs legal would cause harm to society...I don't think anyone that isn't using heroin or cocaine now is all of a sudden going to decide to go shoot up tomorrow just because it's legal. The people that were going to do it anyway will use...Legal or not. Stop jailing innocent people and focus on prevention and rehab. It amazes me how stupid people and the government can be...Face it you are fighting a war you will never win...The very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Seeing how this war is 40+ years old, i'd say our politicians are all insane and need to be committed. It was harder for students to get alcohol in high school then it was to find marijuana or any other illegal substance for that matter...WAKE UP AMERICA

    September 8, 2011 at 22:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Steven A.

    In California, marijuana is quasi-legal. That means anyone can get it easily, but the price remains at street/black market levels. Tomatoes, $1.89 a pound. Weed, $3000.00 a pound. Organized crime is still getting rich off it. The rest of the country is subsidizing the mass murders happening in Mexico. Time to legalize it.

    September 8, 2011 at 22:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Jarstfer

    Where are the anti-regulation conservatives? Oh, suggesting pot should be regulated I guess. Oh well.

    September 8, 2011 at 22:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Forrest

    *Ring, Ring*
    "Hello! Quick question for you. Do you use illegal drugs, and if so, which ones?"
    "Why yes, total stranger! I use this, this, and this! Thanks for asking!"

    As if.

    September 8, 2011 at 22:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. ash

    Gatta be more than 9%

    September 8, 2011 at 22:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. orphanbully

    I think all of y'all who are saying these numbers are too low are delusional. (Mind you, I've been smoking trees for years. And that's the truth.) Just because a bunch of people who you know like to get high, it doesn't mean half of the country is. I saw one poster estimated it at 55 percent. Yeah right. Have you ever lived in the Bible Belt? A majority of these Southern Baptists don't even drink, let alone get high. That goes for Mormons and other strict religious sects, as well. You have towns with thousands of people, and maybe handful of potheads in some of these areas. I think y'all are underestimating the power of religion. I've lived in big cities and small towns. I've met plenty of potheads and junkies, but a vast majority of people (even people who you'd think would) have never tried a drug and look down on people who do. If I had to guess, I'd say the 22 million figure is about right. That's what? One out of every 15 people? I can see that.

    September 8, 2011 at 22:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KeithTexas

      Most of the Baptist are sneaking into the AA meeting through the back door.

      September 8, 2011 at 23:19 | Report abuse |
    • hhmmm

      You're funny. I live in the buckle of the bible belt and guess what, we are the Meth capitol of the country. I would refute your comment except that it goes against one of my core rules; "Never argue with an idiot! They will just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience"

      September 8, 2011 at 23:23 | Report abuse |
  45. Matthew Kilburn

    If you legalized drugs, prices would go down, supply would go up, availability would go up, safety of use would go up, consequences of use would go down, and the ability of parents to keep their children off drugs would go down.

    In short, more people would use drugs more often. Thats bad news. How many of you knew people who skipped school to go and get high? Is that the kind of behavior we want to encourage? Of course not.

    9% is high, but its not nearly as high as it could be if you could pick up joints at 7/11 every night.

    My suggestion? if you get caught with drugs, and you;'re still in school, then you spend your entire next summer at a boot-camp style drug rehabilition program somewhere out in the desert. Not many kids will risk their summer vacation like that for a high, and I bet the ones who get caught don't do it again.

    September 8, 2011 at 23:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Forrest

      What if you're a straight A student who gets caught with pot?

      September 8, 2011 at 23:03 | Report abuse |
    • Matthew Kilburn

      Then you can go and serve the same consequence of your stupidity as a dropout.

      I have less of a problem with productive, successful, well-performing individuals lighting up from time to time...but I also realize that legalizing drugs would be a significant giveaway to bums, dropouts, and general lowlifes.

      September 8, 2011 at 23:06 | Report abuse |
    • james minkle

      mathew have you ever enjoyed a drink? why cant you enjoy other experiences at moderate levels? the problem and the crime is not drugs..it is the amount and responsibility that determines if it is dangerous. ther are non addictive non life endangering substances tht oeople shoud be allowed to enjoy so long as they arre reesponsible. can youu understand freedom or are you ovecome with fear and a love of daddy taking care of you... its time to grow up and become lgical... people like you are ruining the world with fear and nastiness to fellow beings all in the name of appeasing your fears that destroy the hope of freedom.

      September 8, 2011 at 23:31 | Report abuse |
  46. Matthew Kilburn

    By the way, this is a survery of who USES drugs, not who has tried them. Certainly, many more people have tried them.

    Perhaps we can take some hope in our future in the fact that most people don't want anything to do with walking around stoned rather than contributing to society.

    September 8, 2011 at 23:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Forrest

      There were are are plenty of very significant, influential people who were and are also pot heads.

      September 8, 2011 at 23:07 | Report abuse |
    • Matthew Kilburn

      of course some people have used drugs and gone on to be successful, responsible, model citizens. I've never disputed that there are people who occasionally smoke a joint but still have a job, an education, and a stable family.

      But what about those who don't? What about the irresponsible ones? What about those for whom drugs are a lifestyle, even an escape from the world of responsible reality? What about the people who use drugs and, as a result, DO NOT have a job, DO NOT have an education, and DO NOT have stable social relationships?

      We can't legalize drugs without recognizing the giveaway it would be to those sorts, as well as those who manage to restrict their pot intake to a mildly responsible level.

      September 8, 2011 at 23:11 | Report abuse |
  47. NoMoreLabels

    Hmmm...it should include food, too.

    September 8, 2011 at 23:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. james minkle

    why cant people decide if they are reponsible. if a drug os not deadly and feels really good... why can laws enforce morality on responsible people.... why do we stab our wounds with crimiinal punishments when we could heal them in truly intelligent ways... there truly are great experiences that can be safley enjoyed by responsible people... the stigma is not faar from slavery or hitler hating jews... people need to educate temselves and fight these fear filled dictators who are heartless an evil... stop attacking people who are just exploring the mind and our universe.. if they re noot responsible then go ahead... am sickened by our lack of freedom we are truly treated like children and fools... it is so sad that government is this way.. it is disgusting

    September 8, 2011 at 23:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Matthew Kilburn

      why can't people decide if they are responsible? Because the irresponsible ones will never admit, much less change, their own idiocy – and then the rest of us are stuck dealing with the consequences.

      Yes, there are some "responsible" people who might occasionally smoke pot (although none of the other drugs are even remotely capable of being used in a responsible manner)...but that doesn't change the fact that there are also legions of irresponsible ones.

      September 8, 2011 at 23:08 | Report abuse |
  49. Robin Bray

    And yet the rate in Congress is 87%. Republican candidates, 100%.

    September 8, 2011 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. dx2718

    Did they count all instances of marijuana, even when in a state where it's legal and medically prescribed?

    September 8, 2011 at 23:08 | Report abuse | Reply
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