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Contempo 1998 |

Adolescents and Illicit Drug Use

Ann B. Bruner, MD; Marc Fishman, MD
JAMA. 1998;280(7):597-598. doi:10.1001/jama.280.7.597.
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PLANO, a small Texas community (population, 180000; median family income, $54000) just north of Dallas, has been shocked by the deaths of more than 12 adolescents from heroin overdoses in the past 18 months.1 In Fairfax County, Virginia (population, 900000; median household income, $70000), drug-related arrests of adolescents have increased more than 10-fold in 10 years.2 Across the country parents wonder, "How could it happen to our children?" Lifetime prevalence rates of adolescent drug use have been rising since 19923 (Figure 1), and the percentage of teens saying they would never try illegal drugs is decreasing: 86% in 1995, 51% in 1996, and 46% in 1997.4,5

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Lifetime prevalence of any illicit drug use, by grade, from Monitoring the Future Study data.

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