By: Aaron Graffman
OSU Prevention Programs
Marijuana use and prescription drug abuse are widespread problems in the United States. In 2012, 18.9 million people aged 12 or older used marijuana, and approximately one in four of them used marijuana on a daily or almost daily basis. In addition, an estimated 8.9 million people aged 12 or older used illicit drugs in the past month, most commonly prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes. Use and abuse of illicit and prescription drugs result in short term side effects, including hallucinations, dangerous levels of dehydration and overheating, and feelings of sadness, anxiety and depression. Their use also carries long-term consequences, such as liver and lung disease, heart failure, coma, and death.
A serious concern is that usage trends show some increases, specifically among young adults:
• Since 2006, there has been a 74.2 percent increase in the number of people aged 12 or older who used marijuana on a daily or almost daily basis in the past year.
• In 2012, young adults aged 18 to 25 years old were more than twice as likely as people aged 12 to 17 and 26 years and older to have used illicit drugs in the past month. The rate of use among 18 to 25 years old (21.3 percent) has also risen over the past ten years.
According to the 2102 Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment (OPNA), 10.5 percent of Okmulgee County 10th Graders used prescription drugs without a doctor telling them to take them. The State average for Oklahoma was 6.2 percent.
Okmulgee County Communities can change these numbers. Statistics show that a person's willingness and ability to use illicit drugs is directly impacted by the attitudes and actions of friends and relatives. Over 50 percent of people aged 12 or older in 2011-2012 who used pain relievers nonmedically in the past year got them from a friend or relative. Furthermore, in the past year, youth aged 12 to 17 who believed their parents would strongly disapprove of their specific substances were less likely to use those substances. Even one person's actions can have an important effect on a loved one's health and future.