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Data & Trends

Prevent Juvenile Delinquency

Data & Trends Targets & Projections Background Info

Trends: Illicit Drug Use in the Past Month (Numbers in Thousands)

Illicit drug use in the past month:  These data are for youth ages 12-17 from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, where estimated numbers (in thousands) are annual averages based on 2-year surveys. It is important to note that self-reported measures generally underestimate the real numbers of youth engaging in drug use by anywhere from 1.5% (for cocaine use) to 10.2% (for marijuana use), when results are compared to drug tests[1]. Other measures of delinquency were considered, such as juvenile arrests, however state comparison data for juvenile arrests are unavailable due to reporting inconsistencies among state jurisdictions. Nevertheless, illicit drug use can serve as a reliable proxy for delinquency because of the strong association between the two variables[2].

To view or compare state data, select up to six jurisdictions below and click "View Data."
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View Data

[1] Harrison, L. D., Martin, S. S., Enev, T., & Harrington, D. (2007). Comparing drug testing and self-report of drug use among youths and young adults in the general population (DHHS Publication No. SMA 07-4249, Methodology Series M-7). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies.

[2] Greenwood, P. (2008). Prevention and Intervention Programs for Juvenile Offenders. Available Online.

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Tracking Youth Risk Behavior
The Centers for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) uses the school-based Youth Risk Behavior Survey to monitor six types of health-risk behaviors (behaviors that contribute to violence and unintentional injury, tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use, risky sexual behaviors, unhealthy dietary behaviors, and physical inactivity) that contribute to leading causes of death and disability among youth and adults.  

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The CDC’s Youth Online lets users analyze national, state and local YRBSS data from 1991-2009, filter it based on race/ethnicity and sex and create customized tables and graphs.