Science and Tech


Weed Use Up, Cocaine Use Down: Study

A study on drug trends by the RAND Corporation found a sharp decline in the consumption of heroin, while marijuana use increased over the same period.
Posted at 1:14 PM, Mar 11, 2014

A study on drug trends from the year 2000 to 2010 found dramatic shifts in the consumption of illicit drugs. 

The study by the RAND Corporation found cocaine use fell by half from 2006 to 2010, while marijuana use increased by 30 percent over the same period. (Via Flickr / Torben Bjørn Hansen)

The same study found the U.S. spent an estimated $109 billion on cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine consumption in 2010. That's more than was spent at either furniture or electronics and appliance stores.

HealthDay notes while the yearly amount spent on drugs stayed pretty consistent over the decade-long study, "spending patterns for certain drugs shifted. Much more was spent on cocaine than on marijuana in 2000, but that had reversed by 2010."

While those are some pretty staggering numbers, Businessweek notes there is a "great deal of uncertainty" in the study, and the figures could be off by huge amounts.

It points out, while the best estimate for spending on cocaine in 2010 is $28 billion, the possible range is anywhere from $18 billion to $44 billion.

"No one's scanning a bar code when they hand over a bag of coke, and criminal enterprises don't fill out economic data surveys."

​Still, the study's lead author said in a press release the research is "critical for evaluating policies, making decisions about treatment funding and understanding the drug revenues going to criminal organizations."

​That press release acknowledges the study doesn't take into account the recent reported spike in heroin use or the effect of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. The full report was published on the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy website.