Teen substance abuse continued to decline this year, said a survey released yesterday and reported by McClatchy Newspapers. Reduced use of marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, accounted for most of the drop, said Lloyd Johnston, the principal investigator for the annual analysis, based on more than 48,000 confidential responses by eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders. Methamphetamine use fell, along with methamphetamine and crystal methamphetamine. Cocaine use declined, as did crack, heroin, LSD and other hallucinogens, anabolic steroids, and OxyContin.
Only abuse of prescription psychotherapeutic drugs – including sedatives, tranquilizers and narcotics other than heroin – clearly is increasing. Ecstasy use probably is rising, but 2006-2007 differences were too small to be sure. The declines were especially steep among eighth-graders; welcome news, because their abuse patterns forecast future teen trends. President Bush noted that he’d pledged in 2002 to cut drug abuse by young people 25 percent in five years. “This strategy has had promising results,” he said, but they fall a little short of his goal. Reaching back to 2001 numbers, the president reported a drop of 25 percent in marijuana use by young people, a 24 percent drop in the use of all illicit drugs and sharper drops in steroids and Ecstasy.