Decline in Drug Use among American Adolescents
In September 2007, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, led by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), released its annual study, which surveyed approximately 67,500 people. SAMHSA reported that illicit drug use has declined among American teens ages 12 to 17. Studies show that the rate of teens ages 12 to 17 who acknowledge using drugs in the last month dropped from 11.6% in 2002 to 9.8% in 2006. In particular, marijuana use significantly declined among teens ages 12 to 17—most notably among male adolescents—from 8.2% in 2002 to 6.7% in 2006. The survey also indicates that cigarette use among adults ages 18 to 25 decreased from 2002 to 2006.
Prescription drug misuse is a growing concern, however. The nonmedical use of prescription drugs among adults increased from 5.4% in 2002 to 6.4% in 2006, largely as a result of the nonmedical use of pain relievers. According to the 2006 survey 22.6 million Americans have had substance abuse or dependency problems in the past year.