"Although no amount of policy analysis can resolve disagreements about how much punishment drug offenses deserve, research does make clear that some strategies for reducing drug use and crime are more effective than others and that imprisonment ranks near the bottom of that list. And surveys have found strong public support for changing how states and the federal government respond to drug crimes.
"One primary reason for sentencing an offender to prison is deterrence—conveying the message that losing one’s freedom is not worth whatever one gains from committing a crime. If imprisonment were an effective deterrent to drug use and crime, then, all other things being equal, the extent to which a state sends drug offenders to prison should be correlated with certain drug-related problems in that state. The theory of deterrence would suggest, for instance, that states with higher rates of drug imprisonment would experience lower rates of drug use among their residents.
Prevalence of Marijuana Use in Lifetime, Past Year, and Past Month among Persons in the US Aged 12 or Older, by Demographic Characteristics: Number in Thousands
"Among 12th graders, the highest noncontinuation rate is observed for inhalants (67%), followed by heroin (56%). Many inhalants are used primarily at a younger age, and use is often not continued into 12th grade. The rank ordering for noncontinuation of other drugs is as follows: MDMA (ecstasy), methamphetamine, crack, sedatives (barbiturates), crystal methamphetamine (ice), narcotics other than heroin, LSD, cocaine, cocaine other than crack, and steroids (all between 37% and 45%); and tranquilizers, hallucinogens, and amphetamines (all between 33% and 36%).
Illegal Drug Use and Marijuana Use in Lifetime, Past Year, and Past Month among Persons Aged 12 and Older in the US by Age, Gender, and Race/Ethnicity, 2015 and 2016
"26.4% of Irish adults aged 15 years or older report using an illegal drug in their lifetime, 7.5% in the past 12 months and 4.0% in the past month.
" Lifetime usage of cannabis (24.0%) is considerably higher than any other form of drug. The second most commonly used drug is ecstasy (7.8%) with lifetime usage of cocaine (including crack) and cocaine powder at 6.6% and 6.4% respectively.
"The findings on drug use are based on reported use during the last 30 days. Nationwide, 10 per cent had used heroin during the past month, 32 per cent had used cannabis and 40 per cent had used benzodiazepine substances. Fifteen per cent had used stimulants, primarily amphetamine. The situation was also measured by calculating the overall score for frequency of drug use and the severity of ongoing use during the past month. Forty per cent had not used such substances at all, and eighteen per cent only sporadically.
Prevalence of Alcohol Use Among Young People in Australia: "Alcohol use becomes more common with increasing age with 76% of 17-year-olds having consumed alcohol in the year preceding the survey, compared to 19% of 12-year-olds.
"Only 32% of all students reported never consuming alcohol.
Prevalence of Non-Medical Tranquilizer Use Among Young People in Australia: "Around 17% of students had used tranquilisers other than for medical reasons at some point in their life. The proportions of students ever using tranquilisers increased from 13% of 12-year-olds to around 19% of 15- to 17-year-olds.
"Use in the past month was low in all ages and reached only five per cent among students aged 14 and over.
"Across all ages, around two per cent of secondary school students had used tranquilisers in the week before the survey.
Prevalence of Analgesic Use Among Youth in Australia: "Regularity of use: Of students who had used analgesics in the past year, 54% of females and 43% of males had used analgesics 10 or more times in the previous year. Sixteen per cent of males and 10% of females reported use of analgesics only once or twice in the past year.
"Of the male students who had used analgesics in the past week, 71% had used them only once or twice, while 20% had used them 3-5 times. Of the female students who had used analgesics in the past week, 68% had used them once or twice and 22% had used them 3-5 times."