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Youth Prevention-Related Measures

This report presents the first information from the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an annual survey sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The survey is the primary source of information on the use of illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco in the civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States aged 12 years old or older. The survey interviews approximately 67,500 persons each year. Unless otherwise noted, all comparisons in this report described using terms such as "increased," "decreased," or "more than" are statistically significant at the .05 level.

  • Perceived risk is measured by NSDUH as the percentage reporting that there is great risk in the substance use behavior. Among youths aged 12 to 17, there were no changes in the perceived risk of marijuana, cocaine, or heroin between 2005 and 2006. However, between 2002 and 2006, there were increases in the perceived risk of smoking marijuana once a month (from 32.4 to 34.7?percent) and smoking marijuana once or twice a week (from 51.5 to 54.2?percent). On the other hand, the percentage of youths who perceived that trying heroin once or twice is a great risk declined from 58.5?percent in 2002 to 57.2?percent in 2006, and those who perceived that using cocaine once a month is a great risk declined from 50.5 to 49.0?percent. There was also a decrease in the perceived risk of using LSD once or twice a week, from 76.1?percent in 2005 to 74.7?percent in 2006.

  • The proportion of youths aged 12 to 17 who reported perceiving great risk from smoking one or more packs of cigarettes per day increased from 63.1?percent in 2002 to 68.7?percent in 2006.

  • About half (50.1?percent) of youths aged 12 to 17 reported in 2006 that it would be "fairly easy" or "very easy" for them to obtain marijuana if they wanted some. Around one quarter reported it would be easy to get cocaine (25.9?percent). About one in seven (14.4?percent) indicated that heroin would be "fairly" or "very" easily available, and 14.0?percent reported easy availability for LSD.

  • Among youths, the perceived availability decreased between 2002 and 2006 for marijuana (from 55.0 to 50.1?percent), heroin (from 15.8 to 14.4?percent), and LSD (from 19.4 to 14.0?percent). However, the percentage reporting that it would be easy to obtain cocaine showed no decline over this period (25.0?percent in 2002 and 25.9?percent in 2006).

  • A majority of youths (90.4?percent) in 2006 reported that their parents would strongly disapprove of their trying marijuana or hashish once or twice. Current marijuana use was much less prevalent among youths who perceived strong parental disapproval for trying marijuana or hashish once or twice than for those who did not (4.6 vs. 26.5?percent).

  • In 2006, 11.4?percent of youths reported that they had participated in substance use prevention programs outside of school within the past year. Approximately four fifths (79.4?percent) reported having seen or heard drug or alcohol prevention messages from sources outside of school, lower than in 2005 when the percentage was 81.1?percent. Most (59.8?percent) youths reported in 2006 that they had talked with a parent in the past year about the dangers of drug, tobacco, or alcohol use.

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