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Am J Public Health. 1976 Jan;66(1):43-53.

The epidemiology of drug use among New York State high school students: Distribution, trends, and change in rates of use.


A two-wave panel survey was carried out on a representative sample of New York State public secondary school students in fall 1971 and spring 1972. The majority of adolsecents have drunk beer or wine (82 per cent) smoked cigarettes (72 per cent) or used hard liquor (65 per cent). Better than one third (35 per cent) report the use of one or more illegal drugs. The illicit drugs most frequently used are marijuana (29 per cent) and hashish (21 per cent). About one in eight adolescents have used pills such as amphetamines and barbiturates, and about one in 12 have tried LSD or other psychedelics. Four per cent have used cocaine and 3 per cent heroin. Use of illicit drugs tends to be experimental and sporadic rather than regular. By contrast, about one in four regularly use beer or wine or smoke cigarettes. Self-reported rates of use increase over the course of a school year, and there is considerable turnover with respect to which adolescents are users. The increased number of hard liquor and marijuana users through the high school years results predominantly from more stability among users, rather than increased conversion of nonusers to users over the teen years.

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