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News (Media Awareness Project) - Australia: Down Under, Residents Are Atop The World In
Title:Australia: Down Under, Residents Are Atop The World In
Published On:2012-01-07
Source:Denver Post (CO)
Fetched On:2012-01-08 06:02:00

SYDNEY - A study published Friday in a British medical journal might
have uncovered the secret behind Australia's laid-back lifestyle, and
it turns out to be more than just sun and surf: The denizens Down
Under, it turns out, consume more marijuana than any other people on
the planet.

The study, an analysis of global trends in illegal drugs and their
effect on public health published in The Lancet, a prestigious
journal, found that Australia and neighboring New Zealand topped the
lists globally for consumption of both marijuana and amphetamine, a
category of drugs whose use the study found to be growing rapidly.

The study's co-authors, Louisa Degenhardt of the University of New
South Wales and Wayne Hall of the University of Queensland, reported
that as much as 15 percent of the populations of Australia and New
Zealand between the ages of 15 and 64 had used some form of marijuana
in 2009, the latest year for which data were available.

The Americas, by comparison, clocked in at 7 percent, although North
America batted above the neighborhood average with nearly 11 percent
of its population partaking. Asia demonstrated the lowest global
marijuana use patterns at no more than 2.5 percent, the study said.

In an interview Friday, Hall pointed both to the ubiquity of the drug
- - Australia and New Zealand have no shortage of remote rural areas
where policing is difficult - and to cultural mores that place the
consumption of intoxicants at the center of social life.
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