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Thursday, September 09, 2004

Fewer Kids Use Ecstasy, LSD, Drug Report Finds

This is a good story. Less kids are screwing up their lives with drugs. Ectasy, and LSD are very bad drugs and should never be used.
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fewer U.S. teens are using marijuana, Ecstasy or LSD but more are bingeing on alcohol and abusing prescription drugs, according to an annual government survey released on Thursday.

While overall rates of illegal drug use have not changed, the use of some drugs decreased sharply, the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found.

Among youths aged 12 to 17, 41 percent fewer said they had used Ecstasy in the past month and 54 percent fewer said they had taken LSD. The survey found a 5 percent decline in the number of teens who had ever used marijuana.

The Health and Human Services Department quickly credited an advertising and education campaign. "It is encouraging news that more American youths are getting the message that drugs are dangerous, including marijuana," HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said in a statement.

The annual survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that 19.5 million Americans aged 12 and older, or 8 percent of that population, currently use illicit drugs.

MARIJUANA STILL NO. 1 ILLEGAL DRUG

Marijuana continues to be the most commonly used illegal drug, with 14.6 million current users or 6.2 percent of the population. The survey found an estimated 2.6 million new marijuana users in 2002, about two-thirds of them under the age of 18.

The Marijuana Policy Project, which supports the legalization of marijuana, said the numbers showed government policies have failed.

"When you clear away the spin and look at the long-term trends, the real story is that three decades of drug use surveys show that marijuana prohibition has completely failed to keep young people from using marijuana," said Steve Fox, director of government relations for the group.

The SAMHSA survey found the numbers of binge and heavy drinkers did not change between 2002 and 2003. About 54 million Americans 12 and older admitted to binge drinking, defined as having five or more drinks in a row, in the month before the survey.

Young adults aged 18 to 25 were the likeliest binge and heavy drinkers.

An estimated 13.6 percent of people 12 or older -- 32 million people -- admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol at least once in the 12 months prior to the interviews, down from 14.2 percent in 2002.

Misuse of three painkillers -- Vicodin, Lortab and Lorcet -- rose from 13.1 million to 15.7 million. Similarly the number of people who said they had ever misused narcotic painkillers such as Percocet, Percodan, or Tylox rose from 13.1 million to 15.7 million people.

An estimated 2.3 million people said they used cocaine in 2003, 604,000 of whom used crack. One million used hallucinogens including LSD, PCP and Ecstasy while an estimated 119,000 people used heroin. These numbers were all similar to 2002 rates.

The 2003 survey is based on in-person interviews with people aged 12 and older but it does not include active duty military personnel, the homeless, prisoners or others in institutions.

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