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Charts and Graphs About Drugs


Gordon E. Kenney, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist The University of Memphis Memphis, Tennessee, USA

The graph presents lifetime usage rates ("Have you used substance 'x' at anytime in your life?") for American adults between 1947 and 1990. The lack of clear and regularly updated national usage estimates before 1972 calls into question the extent to which policy-makers were (are) accurately informed about usage patterns and their relationships to existing laws and other societal trends. We can see, for example, that cocaine use has no reliable estimates uncovered thus far prior to the initiation of NIDA's annual household surveys around 1972, and reliable cannabis use estimates are hard to find prior to 1969. Difficulties with the parochial reporting procedures of alcohol (gallons produced/consumed per capita) and tobacco (cigarettes manufactured/sold/consumed per capita) in many references also make it difficult to establish continual use patterns prior to 1972. It is difficult to imagine making national policy decisions without such reliable national usage estimates.

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