HealthDay News — Illegal drug use among teens in the United States is on the decline, according to a new federal report from the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Alcohol use, binge drinking, and the use of tobacco products among adolescents aged 12 to 17 years dropped between 2002 and 2013 as well, noted the agency in a press release.
To assess illegal drug use among teens, SAMHSA surveyed 70,000 people aged 12 years and older across the country.
Substance dependence or substance abuse problems among this age group dropped from 8.9% to 5.2%, the agency reported. Rates of drug abuse among young people aged 12 and 17 years dropped from almost 12% in 2002 to 9.5% in 2012. In 2013, rates of illegal drug use among teens fell even further to just under 9%, according to the agency.
Alcohol use among children aged 12 to 17 years dropped to 11.6% from 13% in 2012. In 2013, about 11% of preteens and teens drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year, down from over 14% in 2002.
Use of tobacco products among 12- to 17-year-olds also fell from around 15% in 2002 to a new low of just under 8% in 2013.
Despite this progress, the agency stated almost 25 million people aged 12 and older reported using illegal drugs. Marijuana is the drug most commonly used by teens.
In 2013 alone, almost 20 million (7.5% of Americans aged 12 years and older) were marijuana users, a jump from about 6% in 2007. Abuse of other drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and prescription painkillers, remained relatively unchanged from 2012 to 2013.