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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Brian Blake/Jennifer de Vallance (202) 395–6618
October 4, 2001

National Household Survey on Drug Abuse Shows
Decline in Drug Use for 12 and 13 Year-Olds;
Reinforces Parental Involvement as Crucial in Keeping Kids off Drugs

The results of the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse for 2000 show that progress has been made in a key age group, 12–13 year-olds, and that overall drug usage rates have remained stable since the 1999 survey. The annual survey, a highly respected benchmark of illegal drug use in America, found:

  • The youngest subset of youth (ages 12–13) reported significantly lower rates of current (past month) use of any illicit drug, from 3.9 percent in 1999 to 3.0 percent in 2000.
  • Youth (12–17) perception of the availability of drugs declined for each drug class.
  • Youth who say their parents would "strongly disapprove if they tried marijuana once or twice" used any illicit drug at a rate of 7.1 percent, compared with 31.2 percent for youth who thought their parents "did not strongly disapprove."
  • The total number of new marijuana users decreased 18 percent from 2.5 million users to 2.0 million. However, an estimated 1.4 million of those individuals who initiate marijuana use each year are under the age of 18.

"We are encouraged by the continued decrease in drug use by some of the most impressionable members of our society, 12 and 13 year-olds," said Edward H. Jurith, Acting Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. "Since this very age group is the focus of our National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign and other prevention efforts such as the Drug-Free Communities Program, this finding is especially encouraging, and highlights the importance of the Media Campaign to our overall prevention efforts."

"The Household Survey reinforces what other bodies of research have told us for years: parents are the most effective tools for preventing drug abuse," Jurith continued. "A simple statement against drugs goes a long way in keeping children healthy and drug-free. The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign provides parents resources and suggestions for talking with their kids about the dangers of drug use."

"While it is encouraging that the number of youth trying marijuana for the first time dropped 18 percent, it is troubling that our youth are trying it at a younger age," Jurith said. "More work is required to protect our youth from the harmful effects of drug abuse. This effort requires a balanced approach of reducing the demand for drugs while curtailing the availability of these dangerous substances."

The Household Survey was based on a nationally representative sample of 71,764 individuals from the civilian non-institutional population, age 12 and older.

Findings from the 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.samhsa.gov Parents seeking information on talking to their kids about drugs should visit www.theantidrug.com or call 1–800–788–2800

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