Dabbling with Drugs
Lindsay Lohan says the cocaine authorities found in her posession did not belong to her. Whether that's true, it's a reminder of young people's access to drugs, which experts on drug abuse call one of the nation's most important challenges.
A federal study in 2005 found the number of kids using drugs grows through the teen years. Among 16 and 17 year old, 17% say they are current users of illegal drugs. 18 to 20 year olds reported the highest rate of any age group, showing 22%. By far, the most used drug is marijuana, followed by prescription drug abuse including methamphetamine, inhalants, hallucinogens and cocaine.
Around 1% of teens and 2% of young adults say they used cocaine in the past month. The number of teens who have experimented with drugs is much higher. Last year, the National Institutes of Health found 42% of high school seniors have tried marijuana, 8.5% have tried cocaine.Â
Federal statistics also break down drug use among teens of different races and have found the highest rate among American Indianas at 19%. That group is followed by 11% of blacks, 10% of whites, 9% Latinos and 3 Asians.Â Overall, the rate of drug use among youths has dropped a bit since 2002.Â Â
"Rejecting a life of drug use has now become a nationwide movement among young people, just as unhealthy behavior with regard to drug abuse became a kind of movement almost 3 decades ago," said John Walters, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
But, a close look at the figures also shows some have gone up, such as cocaine use among American young adults. Authorities say the rise of the internet has introduced some new challenges making it easier for young people to buy illicit drugs.Â
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