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California No. 1 in marijuana admissions
Alcohol still most abused; rates up for meth, pot, Rx drugs
Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, credited the 2005 Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act for initially pushing down meth abuse.
But unfortunately, meth producers have found ways to circumvent the law and buy large quantities of products with pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient of the drug, Mr. Kerlikowske said this week.
In response, he said, Oregon enacted a law making pseudoephedrine products available only by prescription, and the state’s meth problems “have been reduced to single digits.” Mississippi passed a similar law this year, and already there are signs it is having the same results, he said.
The statistical center’s new report card is based on data from all states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
When alcohol and drug admissions were combined and tracked from 1998 to 2008, the overall trend was unchanged — there were about 770 admissions per 100,000 population in both years.
However, over that time period, admissions fell for alcohol abuse (15 percent), cocaine (23 percent) and heroin (3 percent) and rose for marijuana (31 percent), methamphetamine (53 percent) and prescription drugs (400 percent).
In the Washington metropolitan area, between 1998 and 2008:
• Virginia’s admission rate rose from 177 per 100,000 population to 508 per 100,000. Increases were seen in all six categories of alcohol, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and prescription-drug abuse.
• Maryland’s admission rate fell from 1,346 per 100,000 population to 986 per 100,000. Admissions rose in marijuana, methamphetamine and prescription-drug abuse and declined in the other categories.
• The District and West Virginia were missing several years of data. Their admission rates in 2008, respectively, were 879 per 100,000 and 443 per 100,000.
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About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.
Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
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