December 20, 2003


Fewer Teens Report They Abuse Drugs: Decline Is Attributed to Ads and Crackdowns (Ceci Connolly, December 20, 2003, Washington Post)

The number of American teenagers using illegal drugs fell markedly over the past two years, the first noteworthy decline in more than a decade, according to government data released yesterday.

The percentage of high school students who reported they had used an illicit drug in the past month fell to 17.3 percent this year, down from 19.4 percent in 2001, according to the comprehensive "Monitoring the Future" survey. That translates into 400,000 fewer high school students using drugs.

Although they cannot be certain, Bush administration officials attributed the decline to more aggressive and targeted anti-drug advertising, additional money for treatment and a drop in supply caused by law enforcement crackdowns.

"This survey shows that when we push back against the drug problem, it gets smaller," said John P. Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. "Fewer teens are using drugs because of the deliberate and serious messages they have received about the dangers of drugs." [...]

Since researchers began surveying eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders in 1975, teenage drug use has followed a roller coaster path. After climbing in the late 1970s and early 1980s, usage slowly fell to 10.5 percent in 1992. The rate rose again to a high of 20.6 percent in 1996 and persistently hovered in that range until 2002.

1980-92--Reagan/Bush >> 1993--Clinton >> 2001--George W. Bush.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 20, 2003 9:14 AM
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