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Youth Substance Use and Abuse

 

 

 

FAST RESEARCH FACTS

YOUTH SUBSTANCE USE AND ABUSE

 

 

Overview: This document lists national statistical information that can be of use for organizations composing grant proposals related to youth-oriented substance abuse prevention or treatment programs. In what follows, you will find information on the usage rates of illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco by youth, broken down by such relevant factors as age, race, and gender. Also included are a variety of statistical tables showing the relationship between youth substance abuse and factors such as youth’s attitudes toward school, youth religious beliefs, and youth’s assessment of the perceived risk of different substances. The data are drawn from two major national surveys, the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (SAMHSA, 2004) and Monitoring the Future: National Survey Results on Drug Use: 1975-2003 (C, 2003).

 

For state level statistics estimating on the number of youths aged 12-17 who are using substances, see the tables in Appendix A of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health: http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k2State/html/appA.htm.

 

 


ILLICIT DRUG USE

 

Current Use of Illicit Drugs[1] by Age Group, 2003

 

Drug

Age

% currently using any illicit drug

% currently using marijuana

% currently using psychotherapeutics

% currently using inhalants

% currently using hallucinogens

12-13

3.8

1.0

1.8

1.4

0.2

14-15

10.9

7.2

4.1

1.4

1.0

16-17

19.2

15.6

6.1

1.0

1.9

All Youth Aged 12-17

11.2

7.9

4.0

1.3

1.0

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2004). Results from the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H–25, DHHS Publication No. SMA 04–3964). Rockville, MD.


NOTE: “Current Use” is defined to be any use during the month prior to the survey.

 

·       Illicit drug use among youth tended to increase with age in 2003, as it did in previous years, peaking among 18-20 years olds.

 

·       The types of drugs used differed by age, as it did in previous years.  Psychotherapeutics where the drugs most commonly used by 12-13 year olds while marijuana was the most commonly used by 14-15 and 16-17 year olds.

 

·       The rate of current illicit drug use among youths aged 12 to 17 did not change significantly between 2002 and 2003, nor did the rates of past month use change significantly for any specific drug. There were decreases in rates of past year use of LSD (1.3 to 0.6 percent), Ecstasy (2.2 to 1.3 percent), and methamphetamine (0.9 to 0.7 percent). In addition, there was a decline in past month marijuana use among youths aged 12 or 13, from 1.4 percent in 2002 to 1.0 percent in 2003. Past month inhalant use among youths aged 16 or 17 increased from 0.6 percent in 2002 to 1.0 percent in 2003.  While current hallucinogen use decreased among the general population, this was not the case among Hispanics Aged 12 and older among whom the rate increased slightly, although not significantly.

 

·       The number of youth using marijuana daily or almost daily decreased between 2002 and 2003.

 

·       Among youth who bought marijuana, 30.9% purchased it in a home/apartment/dorm, 9% purchased it inside a school building, and 4.6% bought it outside on school property.  Among those who obtained marijuana for free, 48.8% obtained it in a home/apartment/dorm.

 

SOURCE: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2004). Results from the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H–25, DHHS Publication No. SMA 04–3964). Rockville, MD.

 

Current Illicit Drug Use Among Youth Aged 12-17, by Demographics, 2003

 

% Currently Using Drugs

All Youth Aged 12-17

11.2

Gender

Boys

11.4

Girls

11.1

Race/Ethnicity

White

11.8

Black/African American

9.6

American Indian/Alaska Native

19.3

Asian

6.5

2 or more races

15.1

Hispanic/Latino

11.0

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2004). Results from the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H–25, DHHS Publication No. SMA 04–3964). Rockville, MD.

 

·       American Indians and Alaska Natives are the most likely to report illicit drug use, and at a rate significantly higher than the overall rate for youth.

 

·       Asian youths had the lowest rate of current illicit drug use, a rate much lower than the average for 12-17 year olds.

 

SOURCE: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2004). Results from the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H–25, DHHS Publication No. SMA 04–3964). Rockville, MD.

 

Correlation Between Illicit Drug Use and Cigarette/Alcohol Use for Youth Aged 12-17

 

% Currently Using Illicit Drugs

Cigarettes

Youth who smoke cigarettes

48.4

Youth who do not use cigarettes

6.1

Alcohol

Youth who drink heavily

64.5

Youth who do not drink

5.1

Cigarette and Alcohol Use

Youth who smoke cigarettes and drink heavily

72.4

Youth who do not smoke or drink

3.7

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2004). Results from the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H–25, DHHS Publication No. SMA 04–3964). Rockville, MD.

 

·       Youth who smoke cigarettes are about 8 times more likely to use drugs than those who do not smoke.

 

·       Youth who drink heavily are approximately 12 times more likely to use illicit drugs than those who do not drink at all.

 

SOURCE: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2004). Results from the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H–25, DHHS Publication No. SMA 04–3964). Rockville, MD.

 

 

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[1] The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) obtains information on nine different categories of illicit drug use: marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, and nonmedical use of prescription-type pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. In these categories, hashish is included with marijuana, and crack is considered a form of cocaine. Several drugs are grouped under the hallucinogens category, including LSD, PCP, peyote, mescaline, mushrooms, and "Ecstasy" (MDMA). Inhalants include a variety of substances, such as amyl nitrite, cleaning fluids, gasoline, paint, and glue. The four categories of prescription-type drugs (pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives) cover numerous drugs available through prescriptions and sometimes illegally "on the street." Methamphetamine is included under stimulants. Over-the-counter drugs and legitimate uses of prescription drugs are not included. Respondents are asked to report only uses of drugs that were not prescribed for them or drugs they took only for the experience or feeling they caused. NSDUH reports combine the four prescription-type drug groups into a category referred to as "any psychotherapeutics." Estimates of "any illicit drug use" reported from NSDUH reflect use of any of the nine substance categories listed above. Use of alcohol and tobacco products, while illegal for youths, is not included in these estimates.