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Increase In Substance Abuse Following 9/11

The horrible events of 9/11 affected people in many different ways. A study of 988 residents of Manhattan in the weeks after 9/11 discovered that 29 percent of people surveyed reported an increase in substance abuse. About a quarter of people starting drinking more alcohol, one in ten people smoked more cigarettes and just over 3 percent reported smoking more marijuana.  A 2004 of 1,570 Manhattan residents surveyed six to nine months following 9/11 found a 10 percent increase in smoking, an 18 percent increase in alcohol use and an almost 3 percent jump in marijuana use, compared to the month before that awful day. The researchers also learned, not surprisingly, of an increase in symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in people who said their drug and alcohol use increased. “I think the picture with substance use is very complicated,” said Sandro Galea, the chair of epidemiology at Columbia University. “Some studies say there was more use, some say less.”

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