Drug Law

Marijuana Use Increasing Among People 50+

| by NORML

ROCKVILLE, MD -- Americans over age 50 are using marijuana in greater numbers, according to survey data compiled by the United States Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA).

Among men age 50 to 54, nearly 9 percent admitted to having used marijuana within the past year. Among males age 50 to 60, over four percent said that they had used cannabis.

Commenting on the study's findings, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said, "While the federal government refuses to acknowledge that marijuana has a legitimate role as a medicine, in particular one that can offset many of the symptoms and conditions associated with aging, it is nevertheless apparent that a growing percentage of the public – and older Americans especially – are becoming increasingly aware of this plant's safety and efficacy."

Among females age 50 to 54, four percent admitted to having used pot in the previous year.

"This new data has profound implications for the health and well-being of older adults who continue to abuse substances," a SAMHSA representative stated in a press release. "These findings highlight the need for prevention programs for all ages as well as to establish improved screening and appropriate referral to treatment as part of routine health care services."

Full text of the study, "Illicit Drug Use Among Older Adults," is available online from SAMHSA at: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k9/168/168OlderAdults.cfm.