A report released on March 9th finds that young people are experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and tobacco at early ages. The report also finds that illicit drug and tobacco use increased dramatically through the mid-1990s. Since then, these trends in use have shifted downward, though use of a new drug, ecstasy, is on the rise.
The report was commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and prepared by the Schneider Institute for Health Policy at Brandeis University. Among its findings, the report says that, by the 8th grade, 52 percent of adolescents have consumed alcohol, 41 percent have smoked cigarettes, and 20 percent have used marijuana. According to the report, young people account for the majority of increases in the numbers of new initiates for many substances.
The report can be found under “Substance Abuse Chartbook” at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Substance Abuse Resource Center.