Results of National Drug Abuse Survey

Author: Monica Preboth
Date: Nov 15, 1999

Findings of the 1998 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), released by Secretary Donna E. Shalala of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), show that illicit drug use declined among young people 12 to 17 years of age from 1997 to 1998, while illicit drug use among the overall population remained flat.

Among children 12 to 17 years of age, an estimated 9.9 percent reported current use of illicit drugs in 1998, which means that they used an illicit drug at least once in the 30 days before the survey interview. The percentage of users was down significantly from the estimate of 11.4 percent in 1997. Inhalant use by teenagers also decreased significantly, from 2.0 percent in 1997 to 1.1 percent in 1998. According to the survey, the rate of teenagers who reported trying marijuana for the first time declined significantly, and the average age of first-time use increased.

"For the past two years we have been cautiously optimistic as a series of encouraging reports seemed to indicate a leveling off and even a possible decline in drug use among teens after years of dramatic increases," said Secretary Shalala. "While it looks like we have turned the corner with today's report, we must not rest. Too many young people are still using drugs, and we must continue to build on our promising efforts to push the rate of drug use down even further."

In the fall of 2000, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the HHS will expand the NHSDA to provide information on substance abuse at the state level. A summary of the 1998 NHSDA survey is available on the SAMHSA Web site at http://www.

COPYRIGHT 1999 American Academy of Family PhysiciansCOPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group

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