Latest Drug War News

GoodShop: You Shop...We Give!

Shop online at and a percentage of each purchase will be donated to our cause! More than 600 top stores are participating!

The Internet Our Website

Global and National Events Calendar

Bottoms Up: Guide to Grassroots Activism

Prisons and Poisons

November Coalition Projects

Get on the Soapbox! with Soap for Change

November Coalition: We Have Issues!

November Coalition Local Scenes

November Coalition Multimedia Archive

The Razor Wire
Bring Back Federal Parole!
November Coalition: Our House

Stories from Behind The WALL

November Coalition: Nora's Blog

September 8, 2006 - USA Today (US)

Drug Use In Middle Age Increases

By Donna Leinwand, USA Today

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

Baby boomers' use of marijuana and other drugs is raising usage rates among older adults, while drug use among teenagers is declining, according to a national survey released Thursday.

Overall, drug use among Americans rose slightly from 2004 to 2005, fueled by small increases in cocaine and prescription drug abuse by young adults ages 18-25 and by rising drug use -- mostly marijuana -- among adults 50-59, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health said.

The survey said 8.1 percent of Americans 12 and older were illicit drug users in 2005, up from 7.9 percent in 2004 but down from 8.3 percent in 2002.

The use of illicit drugs among baby boomers 50-59 rose 63 percent from 2002 to 2005, according to the survey, which was sponsored by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The survey questioned 68,308 people 12 and older about their substance abuse, smoking and drinking habits.

In 2005, 4.4 percent of adults in their 50s said they had used an illicit drug during the previous month, up from 2.7 percent in 2002. Drug use among younger teenagers, however, decreased slightly for the third year in a row, with 9.9 percent reporting illicit drug use during the previous month in 2005 compared with 10.6 percent in 2004.

Federal anti-drug officials say the survey indicates that while some baby boomers who were in their teens and 20s when drug use rates peaked in the 1970s are taking their drug habits well into middle age, today's youths aren't embracing drugs as enthusiastically.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there are 78.2 million baby boomers, the generation born from 1946 to 1964. This year, the oldest among them are turning 60.

When boomers were young, "substance abuse became seen as part of coming of age," says John Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Some "have carried (it) on throughout their lifetimes."

Steve Hager, 55, editor of the marijuana advocacy magazine "High Times", says some people his age with various ailments are choosing marijuana over pharmaceuticals.

"People in their 60s are rediscovering it," Hager says of marijuana, which has been used as a pain reliever for glaucoma and other maladies. "It's effective, it's safe and they feel better. If you're ... using it sparingly, it's the most wondrous medicine."

The U.S. government does not recognize marijuana as having a medicinal benefit, but 11 states allow limited use of the drug for medical purposes.

For the latest drug war news, visit our friends and allies below

We are careful not to duplicate the efforts of other organizations, and as a grassroots coalition of prisoners and social reformers, our resources (time and money) are limited. The vast expertise and scope of the various drug reform organizations will enable you to stay informed on the ever-changing, many-faceted aspects of the movement. Our colleagues in reform also give the latest drug war news. Please check their websites often.

The Drug Policy Alliance
Drug Reform Coordination Network
Drug Sense and The Media Awareness Project

Working to end drug war injustice

Meet the People Behind The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

Questions or problems? Contact