There is often a noticeable dichotomy between public perception and reality, and this ethos is particularly relevant to drug use and drug users. The general understanding of drug use is that it is currently more widespread than ever, and that it is particularly prevalent amongst teenagers and young adults. This theory is developed due to over exposure to sensational media reports and generic journalism, where indistinct statements contrive an unconsidered presentation of actual events.

In fact, the level of drug use between the 18 to 25 year old demographic has fallen between 2000 and 2008, with a total decrease of 0.5 percent. This may seem insignificant, but not when you consider the sum of the US population and also the fact the percentage drop for the same period of citizens who have ever used drugs was registered at 2.4 percent. This secondary statistic is far more indicative of a continual and gradual decline in the number of drug users since the turn of the century.

A Public Perception

So, where does the perception of a worsening drug culture emerge from? Surprisingly, the only increase in the number of drug users is actually in the 26 to 34 year age demographic, where the level of current users has risen from 10.5 to 11 percent between 2000 and 2008. Although this statistic, when considered on its individual merits, may suggest an increase in adult drug use, it not supported by other figures that feature in the same target age range.

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