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Student Drug Use in America 1975-1981

NCJ Number
Lloyd D. Johnston Ph.D.; Jerald G. Bachman Ph.D.; Patrick M. O'Malley Ph.D.
Date Published
444 pages
This study examined the rates of drug use among U.S. high school seniors in 1981 and the trends in drug use since 1975.
Key findings from this study indicate that: cigarette smoking among high school seniors had dropped from 19.4 percent in 1977 to 13.5 percent in 1981; daily use of marijuana dropped from 11 percent in 1978 to 7 percent in 1981; the proportion of all seniors using any level of marijuana dropped from 51 percent in 1979 to 46 percent in 1981; declines in usage were also noted for PCP, amyl and butyl nitrites, and tranquilizers; and usage rates for heroin, barbiturates, LSD, cocaine, and alcohol remained steady, while the rate for amphetamines increased significantly. This study examined the rates of drug use among U.S. high school seniors in 1981 and the trends in these rates since 1975. The study was conducted as part of the Monitoring the Future study. Data for the study were obtained from students in 125 to 130 public and private schools selected to provide an accurate cross section of high school seniors throughout the United States. The results of the study are presented in five chapters in this report. Chapter 1 contains a discussion of the purposes and rationale for the study, the research design and procedures of the study, and the representativeness and validity of the study. Chapter 2 presents an overview of key findings, while chapter 3 discusses the prevalence of drug use and recent trends across all drugs and for each specific class of drugs. Chapter 4 examines the attitudes, beliefs, and social milieu for drug use among high school seniors, while chapter 5 discusses other recent findings from the study. Tables, figures, appendixes, and references