NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Drug Trends Shifting Among The Young

March 9, 2001

Use of marijuana and cocaine is abating among youngsters, according to a new report to by Brandeis University. But young people are beginning to use drugs at a younger age and are switching to hallucinogens and the drug Ecstasy.

The report tracks drug and alcohol use over several decades:

  • Overall levels of drug and alcohol use peaked in the 1970s and the 1980s and have fallen substantially, the report asserts.
  • Alcohol remains the most commonly used substance among teens -- but marijuana use began to drop in 1996.
  • A decade ago, 14 percent of eighth-graders had tried illicit drugs other than marijuana -- but that proportion rose to 16 percent by 2000.

The report estimates drug use, alcohol consumption and smoking cost the U.S. more than $400 billion a year in health-care claims, lost productivity and criminal justice expenses.

Source: Donna Leinwand, "Study: Drugs Cost U.S. $400 Billion," USA Today, March 9, 2001.


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