Another year has come and gone, new trends have emerged, and we are all excited to see what will come next. Because we exist to help people find help through professional interventions, we are constantly looking at how the United States responds to drug use and mental health in order to best understand how our society is being shaped. In our year review of 2015, we’re going to share with you the goings on of drug use in the United States.
Marijuana Use in 2015
With several states joining the bandwagon by legalizing medical marijuana or marijuana itself, it is little surprise to hear that marijuana use has doubled among US adults. Whether this is due to greater accessibility or due to the relaxing of State laws is uncertain. But it appears as though use of marijuana will only increase among adults if the illegal substance becomes decriminalized.
While marijuana connoisseurs may rejoice, it is worth noting that the number of adults who suffer from marijuana use disorder has also increased from 1.5% to 2.9%. At this rate, persons will have to be more concerned than ever about the use of marijuana.
Teens Using Drugs
Oddly enough, while adult use of illegal substances has been increasing, illicit drug use among teens has remained stable, or has possibly declined, depending on the state. The NIH’s 2015 Monitoring the Future survey shows that depending on the drug, teens are making smarter choices when it comes to their health.
As the survey reports, prescription opioid abuse is decreasing, and alcohol and cigarette use has decreased dramatically. However, marijuana and e-cigarette use has become a new norm. This is shocking due to the dangerous effects marijuana has on the developing brain.
Drug Overdoses in 2015
While teen drug use has been decreasing, drug use in adults has been increasing. Alongside drug use the number of drug overdose deaths has also been increasing, some of them celebrities. Opioid drug overdoses have hit an all time record in 2015, rising 14 percent in just one year. More than 47,000 people have died from drug overdoses in 2015 alone, meaning that the United States’ opioid epidemic is worsening. Since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137 percent.
In response to the rising rates of drug overdoses, the White House announced that during 2016 its Office of National Drug Control Policy will be hosting forums that emphasize the shift of responsibility of diagnoses to the system, rather than the patient. To counter the abuse of opioids, the federal, state and local officials are rallying behind public health and public safety leaders to focus specifically on treatment and intervention. Perhaps 2016 will be the year the United States kicks its habit.