Illegal Drug Use Highest in 10 Years

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

A new national survey released Thursday says illegal drug use is at the highest point in nearly a decade.

This is not news to the director of the Eaton Behavioral Health Program who blames the spike, in part, to the downturn in the economy. He said his numbers locally are skyrocketing.

"We used to schedule people 1-2 weeks out, now we are scheduling a month in advance," Jack Jesse said. "That's huge. We've seen more than 900 patients alone this year."

The Michigan Department of Community Health has similar statistics. It served approximately 75,000 people seeking substance abuse treatment in 2009. That's up 10,000 people since 2005.

"We've seen methamphetamine coming back," Jesse said. "We're also seeing more and more heroine."

Marijuana usage is also increasing, Jesse said it's directly related to new medical marijuana laws.

"The drug is legal, so we tend to overlook the consequences," he said.

"As medical marijuana became legal, it changed the perception of our youth," Harriett Dean said. "If it's a prescription, it can't be bad for you."

Dean is the coordinator for the Ingham Substance Abuse Coalition. She said more and more kids are using marijuana at younger and younger ages.

"Approximately 9.4 percent of our 7th graders in Ingham County have used it," she said, "15.3 percent of our 9th graders and 19 percent of our 11 graders have used it in the past 30 days."

Unfortunately the trend, experts said, will only continue, which makes prevention programs that much more important.

"People need to pay attention to this," Jesse said. "This is not going away."

-To get in touch with the Ingham Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, follow this link:

-To get in touch with the Eaton Behavioral Program call: (517) 543-2580 is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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