The percentage of Americans using illicit drugs declined slightly last year, found a federal survey reported by the Associated Press. For people ages 12-17, there was a 9 percent drop in illicit drug use between 2002 and 2004. “Today’s survey confirms the welcome trend on teen drug use,” said John P. Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Overall, 19.1 million Americans used illicit drugs last year, or 7.9 percent. The numbers were the same for the surveys taken in the previous two years, when about 8 percent of Americans reported using illicit drugs within the previous month.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health is an annual survey about 70,000 people. It measures drug and alcohol use in several categories, including age, ethnicity, and type of drug. Illicit drug use dropped from 11.6 percent to 10.6 percent among youths ages 12-17 from 2002 to 2004. Binge drinking, which is defined as five or more drinks in one setting, increased in the same age group.