Contributor Dr. Nora D. Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, discusses the importance of sharing information found in Practical Theorist 12.
Cannabis, commonly called marijuana, is the most popular illicit drug worldwide: an estimated 3.8% of the global population aged 15-64 consumed cannabis in 2017 (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2019). In the United States, the percentage of people aged 12 or older who have used cannabis in the past year has steadily increased from 11% in 2002 to 15.9% in 2018 (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2019). According to SAMHSA, the numbers for past year cannabis use have gone down among youth ages 12-17, but nearly doubled among adults 26 or older from 7% reporting use to 13.3% (2019). The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that marijuana use in grades 8, 10, and 12 combined have gone up 2% in the last three years (Johnston, et al., 2020). Concurrently, public opinion has shifted in the past two decades; the proportion of adults in the U.S. who support marijuana legalization has increased from 31% in 2000 to 67% in 2019 (Pew Research Center Fact Tank, 2019). The number of states that have some form of legalized cannabis use has also increased during the same period. Substance use and misuse prevention community coalitions need to work in the context of this new environment. How can coalitions prevent cannabis use in today’s landscape?
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Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. Despite a decline in smoking in the past 50 years, (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2016) 40 million adults and more than three and a half million adolescents (CDC, 2018) continue to smoke. As a result, 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by tobacco use and about 1,300 people die each day of smoking-related illnesses (CDC, 2018).
The U.S. opioid overdose epidemic has affected millions of families and thousands of communities across the country. From 1999 to 2016, more than 350,000 people died from opioid overdoses (CDC, 2017). Currently, more than 115 people die of an opioid overdose every day (CDC, 2017).