NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Study Says Youth Drug Use Leveling Off

December 20, 1999

The use of marijuana and other illegal drugs remained largely unchanged last year, according to an annual national study conducted at the University of Michigan. In the previous two years, rates had receded modestly after increasing earlier in the 1990s.

  • Among the 14,100 high school seniors polled, 54.7 percent reported having tried an illicit drug -- compared to 54.1 percent in 1998.
  • Among the 17,300 eighth-graders asked, 28.3 percent said they had experimented with an illicit drug -- a slight drop from 29 percent last year.
  • Some 62.3 percent of high school seniors, 48.9 percent of sophomores and 24.8 percent of eighth-graders reported having been drunk on alcohol at least once.
  • The only significant increase in drug use centered on the synthetic drug known as Ecstasy -- which 8 percent of high school seniors admitted using, up from 5.8 percent last year.

Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, the White House director of national drug policy said he was alarmed by the rise in the use of steroids by teenage boys.

Otherwise, he credited the leveling off in drug use to the government's $195 million anti-drug media campaign.

Source: Christopher S. Wren, "Study Sees Little Change in Youth Drug Use," New York Times, December 19, 1999.


Browse more articles on Government Issues