American Kids Aren’t Such Stoners After All

American Kids Aren’t Such Stoners After All

Illinois Senate approves marijuana for medical uses
By Millie Dent

Turns out the young people of America are not as high as you thought they were. The use of illicit drugs, alcohol and tobacco among young people has been falling, according to new data.

While the nationwide rate of illicit drug use has gone up, the percentage of youths using illicit drugs has declined, according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMSHA), part of the Department of Health and Human Services. The illicit drugs include marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), hallucinogens, heroin, inhalants or prescription-type psychotherapeutics.

Among youths aged 12 to 17, the rate of illicit drug use was down to 8.8 percent in 2013 from 9.5 to 11.6 percent in the years 2002 to 2007, the SAMSHA study said. 

Related: New Lifetime Estimate of Obesity Costs: $92,235 Per Person​

But in 2013, drug use among those 12 or older was up to 9.4 percent from the 7.9 to 8.7 percent found between 2002 and 2009. The rise was attributed to increased rates of marijuana use, both medical and nonmedical, among adults aged 26 and older  and that rise probably doesn't fully reflect the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

The report also suggested that alcohol is losing some of its allure for the young.

Between 2002 and 2013, the percentage of underage people who drank declined from 28.8 percent to 22.7 percent. In addition, the proportion of binge drinkers — those who consumed five or more drinks during one occasion — decreased from 19.3 percent to 14.2 percent in the same years.

In additional good news, tobacco and cigarette use among all age groups has declined sharply since 2002.

Chart of the Day: Long Way to Go on Coronavirus Testing

Healthcare workers with ChristianaCare test people with symptoms of the coronavirus in a drive-thru in the parking lot of Chase
Jennifer Corbett
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The White House on Friday unveiled plans for a new effort to ramp up testing for Covid-19, which experts say is an essential part of limiting the spread of the virus. This chart from Vox gives a sense of just how far the U.S. has to go to catch up to other countries that are dealing with the pandemic, including South Korea, the leading virus screener with 3,692 tests per million people. The U.S., by comparison, has done about 23 tests per million people as of March 12.

After Spending $2 Billion, Air Force Bails Out on Planned Upgrades of B-2 Bombers

The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies over the Missouri Sky after taking off from the Whiteman Air For..
© Hyungwon Kang / Reuters
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The Air Force has scrapped a planned upgrade of its B-2 stealth bomber fleet — even after spending $2 billion on the effort — because defense contractor Northrup Grumman didn’t have the necessary software expertise to complete the project on time and on budget, Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio reports, citing the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.

Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters that the nearly $2 billion that had already been spent on the program wasn’t wasted because “we are still going to get upgraded electronic displays.”

Big Hurdle for Sanders’ Plan to Cancel Student Debt

Chip East / REUTERS
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Bernie Sanders wants to eliminate $1.6 trillion in student debt, to be paid for by a tax on financial transactions, but doing so won’t be easy, says Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal.  

The main problem for Sanders is that most Americans don’t support the plan, with 57% of respondents in a poll last fall saying they oppose the idea of canceling all student debt. And the politics are particularly thorny for Sanders as he prepares for a likely general election run, Mitchell says: “Among the strongest opponents are groups Democrats hope to peel away from President Trump: Rust Belt voters, independents, whites, men and voters in rural areas.”

Number of the Day: $7 Million

NY mayor cites climate stance in endorsing Obama
By The Fiscal Times Staff

That’s how much Michael Bloomberg is spending per day in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination, according to new monthly filings with the Federal Election Commission. “In January alone, Bloomberg dropped more than $220 million on his free-spending presidential campaign,” The Hill says. “That breaks down to about $7.1 million a day, $300,000 an hour or $5,000 per minute.”