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: Boosting Corporate Tax Revenues

By The Fiscal Times Staff

The leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination have all proposed increasing taxes on corporations, including raising income tax rates to levels ranging from 25% to 35%, up from the current 21% imposed by the Republican tax cuts in 2017. With Bernie Sanders leading the way at $3.9 trillion, here’s how much revenue the higher proposed corporate taxes, along with additional proposed surtaxes and reduced tax breaks, would generate over a decade, according to calculations by the right-leaning Tax Foundation, highlighted Wednesday by Bloomberg News.

Chart of the Day: Discretionary Spending Droops

By The Fiscal Times Staff

The federal government’s total non-defense discretionary spending – which covers everything from education and national parks to veterans’ medical care and low-income housing assistance – equals 3.2% of GDP in 2020, near historic lows going back to 1962, according to an analysis this week from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Chart of the Week: Trump Adds $4.7 Trillion in Debt

By The Fiscal Times Staff

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated this week that President Trump has now signed legislation that will add a total of $4.7 trillion to the national debt between 2017 and 2029. Tax cuts and spending increases account for similar portions of the projected increase, though if the individual tax cuts in the 2017 Republican overhaul are extended beyond their current expiration date at the end of 2025, they would add another $1 trillion in debt through 2029.

Chart of the Day: The Long Decline in Interest Rates

Wall Street slips, Dow posts biggest weekly loss of 2013
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Are interest rates destined to move higher, increasing the cost of private and public debt? While many experts believe that higher rates are all but inevitable, historian Paul Schmelzing argues that today’s low-interest environment is consistent with a long-term trend stretching back 600 years.

The chart “shows a clear historical downtrend, with rates falling about 1% every 60 years to near zero today,” says Bloomberg’s Aaron Brown. “Rates do tend to revert to a mean, but that mean seems to be declining.”

Chart of the Day: Drug Price Plans Compared

By The Fiscal Times Staff

Lawmakers are considering three separate bills that are intended to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Here’s an overview of the proposals, from a series of charts produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation this week. An interesting detail highlighted in another chart: 88% of voters – including 92% of Democrats and 85% of Republicans – want to give the government the power to negotiate prices with drug companies.