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Youth Drug Use Falls While Overall Use Rates Remain Unchanged in U.S.

NCJ Number
Juvenile Justice Update Volume: 5 Issue: 6 Dated: December/January 2000 Pages: 1-15
Date Published
3 pages
The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse included a nationally representative sample of 25,500 respondents aged 12 years and older and showed that youth drug use fell in 1998 while overall use rates did not change.
The total estimated number of current illicit drug users in the United States did not change from 1997 to 1998. There was a significant decrease, however, in the number of drug users in the 12-to 17-year-old age group; 9.9 percent reported drug use in 1998, compared to 11.4 percent in 1997. Among the entire survey population, 6 percent were current (past month) illicit drug users, 5 percent reported regular marijuana use, and 2 percent reported regular cocaine use. Among the 6,778 survey respondents in that age group, regular use of cocaine, inhalants, hallucinogens, and heroin was very low (1 to 2 percent) and did not change from 1997. Rates of past month use of any illicit drug did not vary by race or gender, although regular alcohol use was higher among white youth than among black and Hispanic youth. Drug use correlated with education and employment, drugs were easy for youth to obtain, and cigarette users were much more likely than non-smokers to use drugs.


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