Adolescents

In 2008, approximately 9.3% of youths age 12 to 17 were current users of illicit drugs. This continued a trend of decreased illicit substance use among adolescents. Compared with 2002 data, the prevalence of illicit drug use had decreased for several drugs, including marijuana (8.2% to 6.7%), nonmedical use of prescription drugs (4.0% to 2.9%), cocaine (0.6% to 0.4%), and methamphet-amine (0.3% to 0.1%). The use of hallucinogens such as ecstasy, LSD, and PCP had slightly increased (0.7 % to 1.0 %). Concern about performance-enhancing agents and steroid use among high school and junior high school students has led to surveillance of steroid use among teenagers since 1989. Compared to previous years, overall use of anabolic steroids had decreased. Although predominantly found among young males, the proportion of anabolic steroid use attributable to young females had increased. Among teenagers, African Americans had significantly lower rates of illicit drugs compared to Caucasians. Hispanics in the 12th grade reported the highest rates of some use of crack, heroin, and crystal methamphetamine.

Most youths reported that drugs are readily available. For example, approximately 49% of teenagers 12 to 17 years old reported that it would be "fairly easy" to obtain marijuana, 22.1% reported they could obtain cocaine, and 13.8%

reported that they could obtain LSD. In 2008, 13.7 % of adolescents reported that they had been approached by someone selling drugs within the past month.

Because peer pressure is a significant factor for adolescents, their perceptions of risk associated with substance abuse and peer disapproval have also been surveyed. A majority of teenagers have strongly disapproved or somewhat disapproved of illicit drug use by their peers. However, the perceived risk of using marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens, and other drugs has been lower in recent years. Teenagers may possess less knowledge about adverse drug effects than their predecessors and may display some "generational forgetting" (Johnston et al., 2009).

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