Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1997. Teen Behavior Risk Factor 7. Teen Alcohol and Suns Tance Abuse

10/01/1997

Teen alcohol and substance abuse are important examples of teen problem behavior and may increase the risk of dependence.

Figure TEEN 7. Percent of Teens Age 12 to 17 who used Cocaine, Marijuana or Alcohol

Figure TEEN 7. Percent of Teens Age 12 to 17 who used Cocaine, Marijuana or Alcohol

  • Both binge and heavy alcohol use declined throughout most of the period, with binge use declining from 22 percent in 1985 to 7 percent in 1996.
  • As shown in Figure TEEN 7, marijuana use among teens declined fairly continuously from 1979 to 1992, then rose sharply from 1993 to 1995, before declining slightly in 1996.
  • As shown in Table TEEN 7, Cocaine use, though still only half of the lowest level in the 1980s, doubled from 1994 to 1996.

Table TEEN 7. Percent of Teens Age 12 to 17 who used Cocaine, Marijuana or Alcohol, Selected Years


  1979 1982 1985 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996
Cocaine 1.5 1.9 1.5 1.2 0.6 0.3 0.3 0.6
Marijuana 14.2 9.9 10.2 5.4 4.4 3.4 6.0 7.1
Binge NA NA 21.9 15.1 15.4 10.0 8.3 7.2
Heavy NA NA 9.5 4.0 4.4 3.4 2.5 2.9

Note: Cocaine and marijuana use is defined as use during the past month. "Binge" Alcohol Use is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least one day in the past 30 days. "Occasion" means at the same time or within a couple hours of each other. Heavy Alcohol Use is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on each of five or more days in the past 30 days; all Heavy Alcohol Users are also "Binge" Alcohol Users. Figure TEEN 7 contains data for all years between 1979 and 1996 though only selected years are shown in the table.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1996 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Preliminary Estimates, 1997.