Despite tough anti-drug laws, a new survey shows the U.S. has the highest level of illegal drug use in the world.
The World Health Organization's survey of legal and illegal drug use in 17 countries, including the Netherlands and other countries with less stringent drug laws, shows Americans report the highest level of cocaine and marijuana use.
For example, Americans were four times more likely to report using cocaine in their lifetime than the next closest country, New Zealand (16% vs. 4%),
Marijuana use was more widely reported worldwide, and the U.S. also had the highest rate of use at 42.4% compared with 41.9% of New Zealanders.
In contrast, in the Netherlands, which has more liberal drug policies than the U.S., only 1.9% of people reported cocaine use and 19.8% reported marijuana use. [CBSNews]
As Jacob Sullum points out:
…it's striking that the lifetime marijuana use rate in the U.S. (42.4 percent) is more than twice as high as the rate in the Netherlands (19.8 percent), despite the latter country's famously (or notoriously, depending on your perspective) tolerant cannabis policies. The difference for lifetime cocaine use is even bigger: The U.S. rate (16.2 percent) is eight times the Dutch rate (1.9 percet).
The Drug Czar's kneejerk description of Dutch drug policy as a raging trainwreck is thoroughly annihilated for everyone to see, and there's really just nothing else to say about it. Other countries are achieving much more desirable outcomes without incurring the massive social and fiscal costs of our towering war on drugs. Admittedly, Americans may possess a unique predisposition to enjoy these substances, but that's exactly the point; the more drugs we use, the greater the consequences if our policy towards drug use utterly sucks.