Substance Abuse

Charles R. Schuster, PhD
JAMA. 1987;258(16):2269-2271. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400160123034.
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The continuing abuse of drugs, especially by young people, has prompted recent emergency legislation authorizing $1.7 billion for increased government efforts to reduce both the supply of and the demand for drugs (Public Law 99-570, The Anti—Drug Abuse Act of 1986). Although a general downward trend has been observed since 1979, substance abuse continues at unacceptably high levels. In 1985, eighteen million Americans reported using marijuana in the past 30 days. Of these, 2.7 million were 12 to 17 years old; 7.1 million, 18 to 25 years old; and 8.4 million, 26 years of age or older. In all, 23 million people admitted to using cocaine, marijuana, or other illicit drugs in the past month.1 Cocaine abuse in particular has shown an alarming increase since 1976, when one out of ten high school seniors admitted having tried the drug. Today, two out of five seniors admit having done so.


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