American Teens More Likely to Use Illicit Drugs than European Teens
Jun 01, 2012
A new report indicates dramatic differences between adolescent behaviors in the United States and Europe. While the U.S. has the second-lowest proportion of students who use tobacco and alcohol compared to their counterparts in 36 European countries, it had among the highest rates of illicit drug use. At 18%, the U.S. ranks third of 37 countries on the proportion of students using marijuana or hashish in the past 30 days. The average across all the European countries was 7%, or less than half the rate in the United States. American students also reported the highest level of marijuana availability of all the countries and the lowest proportion of students associating great risk with its use—factors that may help to explain relatively high rates of use here.
The United States ranks first in the proportion ofstudents using any illicit drug other than marijuana in their lifetime and using hallucinogens like LSD in their lifetime. It also ranks first in the proportion reporting ecstasy use in their lifetime, despite a sharp drop intheir ecstasy use over the previous decade. American students have the highest the proportion reporting lifetime use of amphetamines, a rate that is threetimes the average in Europe. "Clearly the U.S. has attained relatively low rates of use for cigarettes and alcohol, though not as low as we would like," says Lloyd Johnston, principal investigator of the Monitoring the Future study. "But the level of illicit drug use by adolescents is still exceptional here."
LearnMore: Marijuana, Signs of Drug Use
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