WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States leads the world in rates of experimenting with marijuana and cocaine despite strict drug laws, World Health Organization researchers said on Tuesday.
Countries with looser drug laws have lower rates of abuse, the researchers report in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine.
The survey of 54,000 people in 17 countries found that 16 percent of people in the United States had used cocaine in their lifetimes -- far higher than the next highest rate, found in New Zealand, where 4.3 percent of people reported having used cocaine.
More than 42 percent of Americans admitted to having tried cannabis, closely followed by 41 percent in New Zealand, Dr. Louisa Degenhardt of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and an international team of colleagues found.
Great. We've got very strict laws on drug use, entire agencies devoted to enforcement of drug laws... and the highest rate of marijuana and cocaine in the world.