Survey reveals US teen use of Ecstasy, other illegal drugs declined in ’02
Published by Yahoo News – Monday 21 April, 2003
Copyright: Yahoo News
The number of American teens who tried the club drug Ecstasy last year dropped slightly, but experts warn that the drug still has a dangerous level of popularity, particularly among teens who attend all-night dance parties called raves.
A report released today shows that 2.6 million teenagers have tried Ecstasy at least once. The drug produces an intense high, but it can also lead to kidney and brain damage.
The 2002 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study surveyed 7,084 teens in grades 7 through 12 across the country and found that overall drug use among teens has declined since 1997.
In 2002, 48% of teenagers, or 11.1 million kids, reported trying an illicit drug, down from 53% in 1997. Those findings mirror the Monitoring the Future survey, a report released late last year that also found an overall drop in teen drug use.
The survey, sponsored by the New York-based Partnership for a Drug-Free America, shows that teens are more likely to view certain drugs as dangerous, an attitude that experts say usually corresponds with a downturn in substance abuse.
In fact, the survey found that 76% of kids said there is great risk in using Ecstasy regularly. Yet many teens felt there was no harm in trying the drug: The survey found that one out of nine children in America had tried the drug.
”That is frightening,” says Scott Swartzwelder, a drug and alcohol researcher at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. He says Ecstasy is a powerful neurotoxin that can damage the learning centers of the brain after regular use.
The new survey also found that kids attending raves were seven times more likely to use Ecstasy. It is a stimulant and allows users to dance all night long.
The survey also found:
* Marijuana remains the most widely used illicit drug; four out of 10 teens reported using it at some point. But the survey found that like other drugs, marijuana use has dropped in recent years.
* Inhalant use by teens has declined significantly since 1995. This year’s survey found that 10% of teens said they had abused inhalants in the past year, down from 16% in 1995.
Inhalants are household products such as glue that produce a high when sniffed.
* LSD use declined in 2002 as 8% of teens reported use of the drug at some point in their lives, down from 10% the previous year.
Parents can play a big role in making sure a child stays drug-free, Swartzwelder says. He suggests a frank talk about the dangers of drugs like Ecstasy.
”The best drug education happens around the dining-room table,” he says.