Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Substance Abuse of Adolescents

According to Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base 9.5% of students nationwide had used a form of cocaine in their lifetime.  The 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse asked male and female respondents aged 12 or older to report use of any illicit drug during the past month.  66,000 females aged 12-17 reported using cocaine.  Females aged 12 to 17 were more likely than their male peers to use cocaine and reported that  obtaining the drug was fairly or very easy.  The highest number of initiates of cocaine, including crack, occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when there were approximately 1.0 to 1.5 million new users each year. After falling to recent lows in the early 1990s, the total number of new initiates of cocaine rose to 882,000 in 1998. The total increased between 1991 and 1998 both for youths aged 12 to 17 and young adults ages 18 to 25.  In 1991, among youths there were only 92,000 new initiates of cocaine. By 1998, the number of new cocaine initiates among youth had risen to 339,000.  Since 1965, the highest annual rate of first use among youth occurred in, while the rate for young adults in 1998 was only about three-fifths of its highest level attained in 1983.  The average age of cocaine initiates in 1999 was 19.5 years. This is younger than the average age of cocaine initiates for any year since 1973. From 1980 to 1993, the average age of cocaine initiates generally remained above 22 years.  “The percentage of adolescent non-users is remarkably small, with as few as 25 percent of teens as young as eight graders reporting that they never use alcohol at all… There are relatively few adolescents who use marijuana only. Eighty four percent of current cocaine users also use marijuana first.   Marijuana is a gateway drug with, fully 98 percent of persons who have tried cocaine reporting that they tried marijuana first.”

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