National household Survey Results: Teen Marijuana use levels off. Heroin use up among 18-25 year-olds 8/8/97

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released their annual Household Survey results this week. Teen marijuana use appears to have leveled off, with past month use estimated at 7.1% of those aged 12-17, as opposed to 8.2% of that population during the previous year. Past month cocaine use remained well below its 1985 high of 3% of the population, with 1996 estimates at 0.8%, up slightly from 0.7% last year. (Use declined slightly among 12-17 year-olds.)

Heroin use, both injecting and smoking/snorting, was down in the 12-17 age group, from an estimated 101,000 injectors in '95 to 84,000 in '96 and from 71,000 other users (smoke/snort) to 48,000 in '96. Heroin use rose, however for those 18-25 from 144,000 to 160,000 injectors in '96 and from 139,000 to 222,000 other users (smoke/snort) in '96.

It should be noted, however, that the government drug use surveys rely on young people's willingness to accurately report their drug use (a willingness that varies with the political and cultural climate), miss key high-risk segments of the population, and have other limitations. A discussion of this, by the US General Accounting Office can be found at

Information on the survey can be found online at (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) or (National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information).

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Issue #6, 8/8/97 National household Survey Results: Teen Marijuana use levels off. Heroin use up among 18-25 year-olds | Needle Exchange: Two Representatives have introduced a bill to lift the ban on federal funding | International: Foreign press gets real about the War on Drugs | Medical Marijuana: Breaking News: NIH Medical Marijuana Panel Releases Report | 60th Anniversary of Marijuana Prohibition | Quote of the Week: It's time... | Link of the Week: Esequiel Hernandez | Editorial: If the US government could make the illegal drug trade disappear, would it?

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