Alcohol And Drug Abuse Statistics - Children

"In recent years, too many people have said that marijuana is a 'harmless' drug. That is a lie."
John P. Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy

Revised: May 21, 2014

By: Michael G. Conner, Psy.D

The number of adolescents aged 12-17 admitted to substance abuse treatment increased 20 percent between 1994 and 1999 according to the latest Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) report released  by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Admissions for marijuana use grew from 43 percent of adolescent admissions in 1994 to 60 percent in 1999. In 1999, about half (51 percent) of adolescent marijuana admissions were referred to treatment through the criminal justice system. Among all admissions to substance abuse treatment for marijuana in 1999, more than half (57 percent) first used marijuana by the age of 14, and 92 percent by the age of 18.

Treatment admissions were dominated by four substances in 1999: alcohol (47 percent), opiates (16 percent; primarily heroin), cocaine (14 percent), and marijuana/hashish (14 percent). These four substances together accounted for 91 percent of admissions.

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said, "From 1992 to 1997 we saw a dramatic increase in marijuana use among our young people. Our fears have become a reality and our children have not only harmed their future but have fallen victim to crime as a result of their addiction. The good news in this report is that more young people are getting help. Treatment can help them end dependence on addictive drugs."

John P. Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy. "In recent years, too many people have said that marijuana is a 'harmless' drug. That is a lie."

� Alcohol admission rates generally were highest in the Pacific Northwest,

North Central, and Northeast states. The rate for the United States as a whole declined by 19 percent between 1994 and 1999, from 418 per 100,000 aged 12 and over to 337 per 100,000. This rate of decline was equaled or exceeded in 16 states (Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah).

� Heroin admission rates were highest in the Pacific and Middle Atlantic

states. The rate for the United States as a whole was stable over the period 1994-1999. However, heroin admission rates increased between 1994 and 1999 by 100 percent or more in 15 states (Alabama, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin).

� Cocaine admission rates were generally highest in the Middle Atlantic

and some Southern States. Trends indicated stable or declining admission rates for cocaine abuse. Cocaine admission rates decreased from 1994 to 1999 by 25 percent or more in 18 states (Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina).

� Marijuana treatment admission rates showed substantial increases across

a large number of states. The U.S. admission rate for marijuana abuse increased from 69 per 100,000 persons aged 12 and over in 1994 to 103 per 100,000 in 1999. In 13 states, 1999 rates were at least double the rates reported in 1994. (Alabama, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, Washington, and Wyoming).

� Since 1994 methamphetamine/amphetamine admission rates increased,

spreading east from the Pacific states into the Midwest and South. In 16 states, rates at least doubled between 1994 and 1999. (Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming).