Marijuana use is increasing in the United States as Americans change their attitude about the drug’s risks, according to a new report by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Globally, marijuana use seems to be decreasing.
The number of Americans ages 12 or older who used marijuana at least once in the previous year increased to 12.1 percent in 2012, from 10.3 percent in 2008, Reuters reports. More Americans are seeking help for marijuana-related disorders.
It is too early to understand the impact of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington state and Colorado, the report noted. “For youth and young adults, more permissive cannabis regulations correlate with decreases in the perceived risk of use, and lowered risk perception has been found to predict increases in use,” the UNODC wrote.
The report also noted there has been a surge in opium production in Afghanistan, and a fall in the global availability in cocaine. Worldwide output of heroin increased last year. Overall, drug use prevalence is stable around the world, the report concluded. About 5 percent of the world’s population ages 15 to 64 used an illicit drug in 2012.
“There remain serious gaps in service provision. In recent years only one in six drug users globally has had access to or received drug dependence treatment services each year,” Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, said in a news release. He added that about 200,000 drug-related deaths occurred in 2012.