The Collapse Of Meth; The Rise Of Pot

Andrew Sullivan —  Sep 15 2011 @ 1:28pm

Some remarkable news in the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Here's the buried lede:

The number of current methamphetamine users decreased by roughly half from 2006 to 2010 – from 731,000 people age 12 and older (0.3-percent) to 353,000 (0.1-percent). Cocaine use has also declined, from 2.4 million current users in 2006 to 1.5 million in 2010. In addition, among 12 - 17 year olds there were decreases between 2009 and 2010 in current drinking rates (from 14.7-percent down to 13.6-percent) and current tobacco use rates (from 11.6-percent to 10.7-percent).

That's fantastic news about a drug that really does kill people, is so addictive it can destroy lives with astonishing speed, and became endemic across the country. But all this good news is not what the government wants to focus on. It's obsessed with the fast-rising rates of people who use marijuana:

In 2010, 17.4 million Americans were current users of marijuana – compared to 14.4 million in 2007. This represents an increase in the rate of current marijuana use in the population 12 and older from 5.8-percent in 2007 to 6.9-percent in 2010. Another disturbing trend is the continuing rise in the rate of current illicit drug use among young adults aged 18 to 25 – from 19.6-percent in 2008 to 21.2-percent in 2009 and 21.5-percent in 2010. This increase was also driven in large part by a rise in the rate of current marijuana use among this population.

Maybe, just maybe, people know what they're doing. Moving off drugs that kill you toward soft drugs that you cannot overdose on and don't make you violent is a good thing. If the feds stopped demonizing marijuana they'd be cheering a more rational drug-using population in America.