20 Pages

Strengthening Causal Inference in Adolescent Drug Prevention Studies: Methods and Findings from a Controlled Study of the Urban Youth Connection Program

The use of illegal drugs in the teen years has been rising since the early 1990s (Johnston, O'Malley, and Bachman, 1995). The most recent report of The Monitoring the Future Study of Johnston et al., which provides annual estimates of daily, yearly, and lifetime use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs among America' s eighth, tenth and twelfth grade students, indicates rising rates of marijuana and other drug use since 1991, but notes that the prevalence in the 1990s remains far below the peak rates observed in the 1970s. The proport ion of eighth-graders reporting any illicit drug use in the preceding 12 months rose from I I% in 1991 to 21% in 1995. Among tenth-graders, 33% reported illicit drug use in 1995, compared to 20% in

1992. Illicit drug use among high school seniors increased from 27% in 1992 to 39% in 1995. Use of tobacco has continued to show a modest increase since the early 1990s. The use ofalcohol in the adolescent student population in America is not showing an increase in the 1990s, but remains unacceptably high, at prevalence estimates of 15%, 24%, and 30% for eighth, tenth, and twelfth grade students respectively in 1995.