Teen-age drug use down, anti-drug group's survey finds
November 22, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- After years on the rise, teen-agers' use of a variety of illicit drugs declined or leveled off from 1997 to 1999, according to a study released Monday.
The study was conducted by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, a private, non-profit organization is best known for its national anti-drug advertising campaigns. Its chairman, James Burke, said drug use started going up in 1991.
"That line leveled off last year and is now showing a marginal decline," Burke said in a written statement. "We are still at the top of this dangerous, disturbing mountain."
The survey contacted 6,529 teen-agers between 13 and 18. It has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 1.8 percentage points.
Marijuana use, which had the highest increase in the 1990s, showed a slight but steady decline from 1997 to 1999. The decline appeared in three categories -- trial use, use during the past year and use during the past month.
And for the first time since 1993, the reported use of cocaine and crack declined. Eight percent of those surveyed said they used some form of cocaine in 1998, while only seven percent said so in 1999.
The researchers said teen attitudes toward drug use may be changing after years of anti-drug campaigns.
"A major element of this growing social disapproval of drugs among teens seems to stem from a change in how culture is disassociating 'coolness' from drug use," said Barbara Delaney, a spokeswoman for the group. "Cultural icons -- especially musicians and actors -- are less likely to be seen as purveyors of marijuana or drug 'coolness,' " she said.
Added Burke, "Attitudes are changing for the better. When attitudes change, behavior changes usually follow, gradually at first and then, if trends continue, steadily."
In other findings from the survey:
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