Drug use has edged downward among teens nationwide, with the biggest decreases in the Midwest and South, says a survey reported by USA Today. Children 12 to 17 who reported using any illicit drug in the past month declined from 11.4 percent to 10.9 percent between 2002 and 2004. States that saw the biggest declines in teen drug use were Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Carolina, Virginia, and Vermont. The study is being released today by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It combines data from interviews of 135,500 people in 2003 and 2004 as part of the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health.
There were no statistically significant increases in any age group for drug use. Among all age groups nationwide, illicit drug use remained steady; Florida, Nevada, Washington state, and Washington, D.C. showed significant declines. Past-month use of illicit drugs including marijuana dropped from 11.6 percent to 9.6 percent in Washington, D.C.; from 8.7 percent to 7.8 percent in Florida; from 10.3 percent to 8.7 percent in Nevada; and from 10 percent to 8.5 percent in Washington state.