The use of illegal drugs amongst high school students increased significantly during the mid 1990s, before leveling off after 1997. The use of illicit drugs amongst seniors has increased by more than fifteen per cent between the years 1992 and 1997. In 1997, amongst those who graduated from high school, about fifty four per cent stated that they had used some form of illicit drug before graduation.
During the 1990s, the use of marijuana increased amongst those in tenth to twelfth grade. However, this usage level has been seen to have decreased since peaks of usage in the years 1979 and 1980. From 1992 to 1997, there was an increase of about seven per cent in the usage of marijuana amongst those in eighth grade. In the same period, usage increased by more than twenty per cent in those in tenth grade. The use of marijuana amongst those in this age group was said to be about thirty four per cent. Around fifty per cent of seniors claimed to have used marijuana in the year 1997. The figure in 1979 was 50.8%.
Cocaine usage remained at roughly the same level amongst 8th to 10th graders in the years 1996 to 1997. The figure relating to cocaine usage in 1997 was 8.7 per cent. This is the highest level of usage since the year 1990. Amongst 12th graders, the usage figures increased by 0.6 per cent in the years 1996 to 1997. Surveys have stated that about 2.7 per cent of 8th graders have used crack cocaine. Another survey states that around 3.6 per cent of tenth graders have taken crack cocaine.
LSD and inhalants
About 13.6 per cent of seniors were said to have used LSD in the year 1997. Usage figures in 1997 surpassed usage levels in the 1970s. LSD usage amongst eighth graders was about 3.2 per cent in 1997. For tenth graders, the figure was about 5.2 per cent in the same year. After alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, the most commonly used substances are inhalants. Eighth graders have higher rates of usage of inhalants than those in tenth and twelfth grade. In 1997, more than twenty per cent of eighth graders claimed to have used inhalants.
Just under four per cent of high school seniors claimed to drink alcohol in 1997. The same figure for tenth graders was 1.7 per cent, and 0.8 per cent in eighth graders. About thirty one per cent of seniors claimed to having drunk more than five or more drinks in a row on regular occasions.