Drug use remains a significant problem in the United States, however adolescent drug use is particularly damaging as such use can affect the physical and mental development of younger people and can impact their opportunities later in life. In 1991, approximately 30.4 percent of those in school grades 8, 10, and 12 had used illicit drugs at some point in their lives. This number reached a high of 43.3 percent in 1997, but dropped back to around 35 percent in 2019. As of 2019, marijuana was still one of the most used drugs among adolescents with around 78 percent of 12th graders perceiving marijuana as fairly easy to obtain, compared to around 27 percent of those perceiving the same for cocaine. Cocaine use among high school students is highest among Hispanic males, with 8.1 percent of this population stating they had used cocaine at least once as of 2017.
Study drugs or smart drugs are prescription stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall that are generally used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), but can be used recreationally to increase concentration and boost energy. In 2019, around 44 percent of students in grade 12 thought trying Adderall occasionally posed a great risk for harm, while 4 percent had taken Adderall within the last year. While rates of annual Adderall use among adolescents have fluctuated over the past few years depending on age, overall rates of Ritalin use have decreased from 4.2 percent in 2001 to less than 1 percent in 2019.
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In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 36 most important statistics relating to "Adolescent drug use in the U.S.".