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Richard Doty

Mark Pogue

Last modified: Wednesday, September 4, 2002

IU study shows drug use decline continues for Hoosier youth

A recent trend of declining illicit drug use by Hoosier youth is continuing, according to the Indiana Prevention Resource Center that released its 2002 survey Tuesday (Sept. 3).

William Bailey, executive director of IPRC at Indiana University and associate professor of applied health science, said the annual survey addresses alcohol, tobacco and other drug use by Hoosier children and adolescents.

The 12th annual survey involved nearly 80,000 students in the sixth through 12th grades attending 269 schools in Indiana. Funding for the survey was through a contract with the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction. The findings are posted on the Web at

"In summary, the decline in illicit drug use is not as dramatic as those found five to seven years ago, but the decreases are nevertheless significant," said Bailey, who noted they are similar to national figures. He cited tobacco decreases among nearly all grades and with most measurements of lifetime, annual, monthly and daily use. "Tobacco use is now about one-half lower among middle school students and about one-fourth lower among high school students when compared to 1991 and 1992," he said.

Between sixth and 12th grades from 1996 to 2002, the figures show average declines of 11 percent in monthly cigarette use, nearly 8 percent in daily cigarette use, and 5 percent in daily use of a half-pack or more of cigarettes.

Other findings in the survey:

* The first-ever IPRC data on "club drugs" such as Rohypnol and GHB show use is minimal at the middle school and high school levels. The use of ecstasy increases as students age to a lifetime usage level of 9.5 percent for high school seniors.

* Use of alcohol continues to decline slowly, with less experimenting. There was no change from 2001 for heavy and more frequent drinkers.

* Use of marijuana and inhalants showed a small decrease in 2002 at most levels, although use of cocaine was about the same as in 2001.

Bailey said the survey results reflect favorably upon the state's drug prevention programs. "These results strongly suggest that prevention initiatives are working in Indiana," he said. "The three grades with the most noticeable decline (seventh, eighth and ninth) are the three grades targeted by statewide prevention initiatives." He said there are more than 500 after-school programs statewide that contributed to the declines, along with a federal mass media campaign and changing public attitudes and policies about tobacco.

For more details on the survey findings, contact the IPRC at 812-855-1237 or Within Indiana a toll-free phone line is available at 800-346-3077.