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December 16, 2007

No Cause For Celebration

According to the 2007 Monitoring The Future report released last week by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan there continues to be a gradual decline in illicit drug use among 10th and 12th graders across the county.  While the decline since the peak years of the mid-1990s is welcome news it should certainly be no cause for celebration by anyone.  Crystal Meth led the way on the downward trend along with other types of stimulants but marijuana use only slightly declined from 2006 while use of drugs like LSD, heroin, cocaine, crack and opiates saw little of no change.  Political types are always eager to tout substance use declines as evidence of enforcement efforts and declare victory but prevention and treatment professional are less interested in downward trends than problems that are on the rise. 

In 2007, and for the last several years, the abuse of prescription drugs has been steadily on the increase.  That certainly comes as no surprise to any teenager who will tell you that "Pharming" parties (where middle and high school students bring prescription drugs "harvested" from their parents and grandparents medicine cabinets) have become the "Raves" of the first decade of the 21st Century.  And while the problem has grown significantly in recent years public awareness has been slow and the response from the Pharmaceutical Industry has been non-existent.

In my view there is no cause for celebration for declines in substance use....so instead of patting ourselves on the back for this "downward trend", lets take a moment to acknowlegde the current data and then roll up our sleeves and get back to work...there is still so much to be done.

December 16, 2007 at 09:00 PM in The Odyssey | Permalink


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