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Drug facts.

While the Alaska Supreme Court has upheld the right of adult Alaskans to possess up to four ounces of marijuana in their homes for personal use, the move did not immunize state residents against federal law making it illegal to possess, use, buy, sell or cultivate marijuana. The Alaska constitution does have a special guarantee of privacy from government interference not included in the federal constitution.

New figures quoted in the April Worksafe newsletter report that March 2007 use of illicit substances, including marijuana, in Alaska rose from 11.79 percent in 2004 to 12.16 percent in 2005, according to the newly released National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Some other factoids from a survey conducted in 2005 from the federal government:

* While about 8 percent of the U.S. population over age 12 admitted to using an illicit drug in the past month (2005 survey), in Alaska the figure was 12.16 percent.

* 10.1 percent of Alaskans 12 and older reported they were current marijuana users, compared to 6.04 percent nationwide.

* About 5.8 percent of Alaskans over 12 admitted to the non-medical use of pain relievers (including tranquilizers and stimulants) in the past year (2005 survey), compared with 4.8 nationwide.

* Alaska's greatest challenge is drug use among adults 26 and older, with rising past-month (2005 survey) substance abuse figures (8.8 to 9.8 percent) almost double the national average, which was stable at 5.6 percent.

The Worksafe newsletter further stated, "Alaskans of all ages do not worry about the negative effects of marijuana, and only 27.3 percent think smoking pot can be harmful (compared to 39.04 percent nationwide).
WorkSafe's positivity rates over a
5-year period for all test results

Marijuana 79%
Methamphetamines 17%
Cocaine 4%
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Article Details
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Author:Stomierowski, Peg
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U9AK
Date:Aug 1, 2007
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