Over the last several years, without many people realizing it, the U.S. government has changed the focus of its anti-drug efforts, deemphasizing marijuana in favor of prescription drugs.
A CBS News survey of government and nonprofit anti-drug groups has found a retreat from anti-marijuana campaigns over the past several years as prescription and over the counter drug abuse has grown amongst teens.
In fact, the Partnership for a Drug Free America, the nation's largest creator of anti-drug messages, hasn't produced a single anti-marijuana public service advertisement since 2005.
The change comes as a result of the decline in marijuana use amongst teens, and growing worry over the abuse of prescription drugs. Marijuana use has been declining for 10 years and past-month use is down 25 percent since 2001 according to the largest tracking study in the U.S., "Monitoring the Future" by the University of Michigan.
Meanwhile prescription drug abuse has held steady over the past five years according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, with nearly one in five teens (19 percent) abusing prescription medications to get high.
"There is a new threat in town," Robert Dennisoton of the Office of National Drug Control Policy said.
The concern about pills has been highlighted by a string of high profile deaths like that of Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, and possibly Michael Jackson -- all tied to the abuse of legal prescription drugs.
In an effort to spread awareness about the dangers of the misuse of prescription drugs, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America even refers to young people today as "Generation Rx" in TV advertisements that point to the dangers of misuse of those drugs.
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.
If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009