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Since the early 1960s there has been an alarming increase in drug use in the United States In 1962 four million Americans had tried an illegal drug By 1999 that number had risen to a staggering 877 million according to the 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse The study also found that the number of illicit drug users who were above the age of 12 and had used drugs in the past month reached a high of 254 million in 1979 decreased through the late 1980s to a low of 12 million in 1992 and has since increased to 148 million in 1999 Drug use among teens and even younger children has been steadily increasing for the past several years According to the 1998 National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse survey teen marijuana use is up almost 300 percent since 1992 In 1999 55 percent of high school seniors reported having used an illicit drug while just seven years ago only 41 percent said they had according to the Monitoring the Future Study Between 1991 and 1999 the same study reported illicit drug use among younger children age 13 to 14 increased by 51 percent from 187 percent to 283 percent While most Americans are aware that drug use in the United States is becoming more prevalent among our youth many do not realize the profound impact the drug epidemic has on the country as a whole Widespread drug use results in a less efficient less productive workforce According to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration survey employees who test positive for drugs make more than twice as many claims for workers compensation use almost twice the medical benefits and take one-third more leave time as non-users They are also 60 percent more likely to be responsible for accidents The Office of National Drug Control Policy ONDCP estimates that the monetary cost of illegal drug use to society is 110 billion
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