National Drug Control Strategy (February 2002)   [open pdf - 7MB]

In December 2001, the University of Michigan released its annual survey, Monitoring the Future, which measures drug use among American youth. Very little had changed from the previous year's report; most indicators were flat. The report generated little in the way of public comment. Yet what Monitoring the Future had to say was deeply disturbing. Though drug use among our Nation's 8th, 10th, and 12th graders remains stable, it nevertheless is at levels that are close to record highs. More than 50 percent of our high school seniors experimented with illegal drugs at least once prior to graduation. And, during the month prior to the survey, 25 percent of seniors used illegal drugs, and 32 percent reported being drunk at least once. This situation is not new. Indeed, drug use among our young people has hovered at unacceptably high levels for most of the past decade. As in the 1960s and 1970s, drug use has once again become all too accepted by our youth. As self-styled drug policy "reformers" never tire of pointing out, people who use marijuana or cocaine once or twice do not invariably graduate to a life of drug addiction--just as not every teenager who drives drunk ends up in the emergency room. Yet a large percentage do in fact remain drug users. Recent data from Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse show that roughly 60 percent of children who try cocaine and LSD during high school are still using drugs at graduation.

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