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World Health Organization

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 1, 2008

    So I went to the Drug Czar’s blog today, but strangely enough, I couldn’t find any mention of this story.

    US leads the world in illegal drug use
    via CBS News

    Despite tough anti-drug laws, a new survey shows the U.S. has the highest level of illegal drug use in the world.

    The World Health Organization’s survey of legal and illegal drug use in 17 countries, including the Netherlands and other countries with less stringent drug laws, shows Americans report the highest level of cocaine and marijuana use.

    For example, Americans were four times more likely to report using cocaine in their lifetime than the next closest country, New Zealand (16% vs. 4%). Marijuana use was more widely reported worldwide, and the U.S. also had the highest rate of use at 42.4% compared with 41.9% of New Zealanders.

    In contrast, in the Netherlands, which has more liberal drug policies than the U.S., only 1.9% of people reported cocaine use and 19.8% reported marijuana use.

    “Globally, drug use is not distributed evenly and is not simply related to drug policy, since countries with stringent user-level illegal drug policies did not have lower levels of use than countries with liberal ones,” researcher Louisa Degenhardt of the University of New South Wales, Australia, and colleagues write in PLoS Medicine.

    One wonders if Drug Czar John Walters can even show his face in public today. Seriously, is there anything this man has ever said that this new WHO report doesn’t expose to be a blatant and deliberate lie?

    America is ‘winning’ the war on drugs? Wrong! The US actually leads the world in illicit drug use, despite increasing the number of drug offenders behind bars 1100 percent since 1980.

    Liberalizing marijuana laws will escalate marijuana use? False! Marijuana use is twice as prevalent in the United States as it is in Spain and Italy (where marijuana possession is quasi-legal) and the Netherlands — where marijuana is openly used and sold in public.

    Experimenting with marijuana is a ‘gateway’ to the use of cocaine? Lie! Rates of cocaine use in Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands — three nations with some of the most liberal pot policies in the world — is actually eight times less than it is in the United States.

    Talking about pot in public makes my nose grow longer? True! Whoops, I made that one up.

    Anyway, you can check out the full study, along with this very telling table, here.

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