Adolescent drug use in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts
Drug use in the United States remains a significant problem across all genders, race/ethnicities, and ages. 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 had dropped down to around 28 percent by the year 2022. Marijuana and alcohol are the most used illicit drugs among adolescents in the United States, with around 70 percent of 12th graders perceiving marijuana as fairly easy to obtain, compared to around 18 percent of those perceiving the same for cocaine. It is estimated that around 2.5 percent of high school students in the United States had used cocaine at least once as of 2021.
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