United States Leads World in Lifetime Use of Cocaine, Other Drugs

Americans like being number one, but being at the top of a drug addiction list is hardly cause for celebration. But that’s where the United States stands after a World Health Organization report said that the country ranks first in lifetime usage of three major drugs.

By percentage, Americans were more likely to have used cocaine, marijuana and tobacco than people in any of the 17 nations surveyed. This correlates with information in the report suggesting a link between a person’s wealth and their likelihood to have tried drugs. People with more money had a higher likelihood of having at least experimented with drugs if not winding up in an addiction center.

However, this doesn’t mean that America should expect a sudden rise in the number of people needing treatment in a rehab center. Dr. Wilson Compton of NIDA’s Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research said that the number could be skewed by the high number of people who dabbled with cocaine in the 1970s and 1980s and that the numbers were less “pronounced” when comparing young adults.