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High School Senior Drug Use Declines

Article excerpt

Significant decreases in illicit drug use among high school seniors were registered between 1990 and 1991 -- with the rate of any illegal drug use within the past year down from 33% to 29%, about half the rate of use in 1980, according to the 17th annual survey of high school seniors. Drug use by seniors stood at its lowest level since the surveys began in 1975. The results of the survey, conducted by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research under a grant from NIDA, were announced by HHS Secretary Louis Sullivan at a White House briefing on the 1991 National Drug Strategy. They were hailed by President Bush who said, "Our young people are now getting the message." Bob Martinez, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), said the high school senior findings, coupled with surveys released earlier (story below), show "substantial and significant progress in reducing adolescent drug use in the U.S."

The survey of 15,483 students from a representative sample of seniors in public and private schools last spring showed not only the drop in previous year illegal drug use but these other statistically significant decreases:

+ Use in the previous year of alcohol went down from 81% in 1990 to 78% in 1991. Annual use of marijuana dropped from 27% to 24%, half the rate of 1980. Use of cocaine during the past year was down from 5.3% to 3.5%, a decline of nearly three-quarters since 1980. …