Why does a person turn to illegal drugs?

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Motivations for Drug Use

"People take drugs for many reasons: peer pressure, relief of stress, increased energy, to relax, to relieve pain, to escape reality, to feel more self-esteem, and for recreation. They may take stimulants to keep alert, or cocaine for the feeling of excitement it produces. Athletes and bodybuilders may take anabolic steroids to increase muscle mass."

Drug addiction and drug abuse: Motivations for Drug Use. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. © 1994, 2000-2006, on Infoplease. © 2000-2007 Pearson Education, publishing as Infoplease. 06 Jul. 2007

Drug Use by Americans, 12 Years and Older

Type of drug Ever used Current user
1979 1990 2000 2004 1979 1990 2000 2004
Any illicit drug1 n.a. n.a. 38.9% 45.8% n.a. n.a. 6.3% 7.9%
Marijuana and hashish 27.9% 30.5% 34.2 40.2 13.2% 5.4% 4.8 6.1
Cocaine 8.6 11.2 11.2 14.2 2.6 0.9 0.5 0.8
 Crack n.a. n.a. 2.4 3.3 n.a. n.a. 0.1 0.2
Hallucinogens 8.9 7.9 11.7 14.3 1.9 0.4 0.4 0.4
 LSD n.a. n.a. 8.8 9.7 n.a. n.a. 0.2 0.1
 PCP n.a. n.a. 2.6 2.8 n.a. n.a. 0.0 0.0
 Ecstasy n.a. n.a. 2.9 4.6 n.a. n.a. n.a. 0.2
Heroin 1.3 0.8 1.2 1.3 0.1 n.a. 0.1 0.1
Stimulants2 n.a. 5.5 6.6 8.3 n.a. 0.6 0.4 0.5
 Methamphetamine n.a. n.a. 4.0 4.9 n.a. n.a. 0.2 0.2
Sedatives2 n.a. 2.8 3.2 4.1 n.a. 0.2 0.1 0.1
Tranquilizers2 n.a. 4.0 5.8 8.3 n.a. 0.6 0.4 0.7

NOTE: Current users are those who used drugs at least once within month prior to this study. n.a. = not available.

1. Any illicit drug indicates use at least once of marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens (including LSD and PCP), inhalants, or any prescription-type psychotherapeutic used nonmedically.

2. Nonmedical use; does not include over-the-counter drugs.

Source: U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2003 and 2004. Web: www.oas.samhsa.gov.

Drug Use by Americans, 12 Years and Older." Infoplease. © 2000-2007 Pearson Education, publishing as Infoplease. 06 Jul. 2007

population of users

"Drug Use by Americans, 12 Years and Older".  The fact that 12 year olds are using drugs is scary, but putting that aside, the chart only states a percentage rate.  Percentage of what:  the entire population of people 12 years and older in America?  How does this translate in real numbers?  How many drug addicts are there are in America?

Almost all my friends have tried drugs.  In fact, I can't think of one person I know who hasn't tried at least a magic-marker, perscription drugs, alcohol or pot to get high. Does that make us all addicts and criminals? 

Profit

Another motivation to get involved with illegal drug use is the profit made by selling drugs to desperate people.... much like private baby-brokers get involved in child trafficking; they do so for the money.  Desperate wanna-be-parents are willing to pay big money for a baby these days.

Sadly, it seems like little has changed from the hey-day baby-selling days of the 60's and 70's.

Pound Pup Legacy