Rich and poor drug users

From Tim Wu’s “That Other Drug Legalization Movement” (Slate: 14 October 2007):

As the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University reports, rich people tend to abuse prescription drugs, while poorer Americans tend to self-medicate with old-fashioned illegal drugs or just get drunk.

The big picture reveals a nation that, let’s face it, likes drugs: Expert Joseph Califano estimates that the United States, representing just 4 percent of the world’s population, consumes nearly two-thirds of the world’s recreational drugs. In pursuit of that habit, the country has, in slow motion, found ways for the better-off parts of society to use drugs without getting near the scary drug laws it promulgated in the 20th century. Our parents and grandparents banned drugs, but the current generation is re-legalizing them.