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Substance Use

Definition:
The illegal use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD) by Maryland youth.  Use of ATOD poses many health risks for youth.  Early use of some substances (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana) is associated with later drug use and the prevalence of high-risk behaviors.

 

Alcohol Use – Percentage of Maryland public school students
in grades 9-12 who:

2005 2007 2009 2011 2013
Have ever had a drink of alcohol 73.1 72.9 67.2 63.5 60.9
Had a drink of alcohol before age 13 24.8 23.5 24.5 23.2 19.3
Are current drinkers (at least one drink of alcohol on at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey) 39.8 42.9 37.0 34.8 31.2
Are binge drinkers (five or more drinks of alcohol, within a couple of hours, on at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey) 20.8 23.9 19.4 18.4 17.0

 

Tobacco Use – Percentage of Maryland public school students
in grades 
9-12 who:

2005 2007 2009 2011 2013
Ever tried cigarette smoking 48.5 50.3 43.5 41.2  *
Smoked a whole cigarette before age 13 13.7 13.4 10.8 10.9 8.0
Are current cigarette smokers (smoked cigarettes on at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey) 16.5 16.8 11.9 12.5 11.9
Are heavy cigarette smokers (smoked more than 10 cigarettes per day on the days they smoked during the 30 days before the survey) 7.4 7.4 4.4 4.4 *
Are current smokeless tobacco users (used chewing tobacco, snuff, or dip on at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey) 2.9 4.2 5.4 7.2 7.4
Are current cigar smokers(smoked cigars on at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey) 11.6 11.0 12.7 12.9 12.5

 

Marijuana Use – Percentage of Maryland public school students in grades
9-12 who:

2005 2007 2009 2011 2013
Have ever tried marijuana 38.2 36.5 35.9 37.0 35.9
Tried marijuana for the first time before age 13 8.9 8.6 8.1 8.5 8.8
Are current marijuana users (used marijuana one or more times during the 30 days before the survey) 18.5 19.4 21.9 23.2 19.8

 

Other Drug Use – Percentage of Maryland public school students in grades 9-12 youth who ever used the following drugs one or more times.

2005 2007 2009 2011 2013
Cocaine (including powder, crack, or freebase) 6.9 5.5 6.3 5.9 6.5
Methamphetamines 4.0 3.0 4.3 4.5 5.0
Heroin 2.6 2.4 4.1 4.2 4.9
Ecstacy 5.0 6.3 6.4 6.9 8.3
Steroids (pills or shots without prescription) 3.6 2.5 3.9 5.0 5.1
Inhalants (glue, aerosol cans, paint) 12.5 12.9 11.0 9.4 10.4
Prescription Drugs  * * * 15.2 15.2

Data Source: The Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)
*Data not collected

Story Behind the Data:

The use of illegal drugs and alcohol among children and youth presents not only immediate health problems, but also greater risk for health concerns and potential addictions later in life.  Children who begin drinking alcohol before the age of 15 are five times more likely to become alcohol-dependent, or abuse alcohol as adults, than those who wait until 21 to begin drinking.  In addition, it is estimated that 90 percent of smokers started smoking before they turned 18.

The State of Maryland has a number of programs in place to educate youth and adolescents about the risks associated with drug use.  Schools are a particularly effective setting for drug-abuse prevention because they offer the opportunity for a consistent and sustained approach.  The Maryland State Health Curriculum is employed in local curricula from kindergarten through 8th grade and then again in high school.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene also provides funding to local jurisdictions through the Behavioral Health Administration to support local Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug (ATOD) Prevention Offices within local health departments.  ATOD offices offer education programs and community-outreach services to address the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs by Maryland youth.  In addition, DHMH launched “The Cigar Trap” to educate youth about the risks associated with flavored tobacco, and maintains Maryland TRASH (Teens Rejecting Abusive Smoking Habits), a committee of youth coalitions formed to raise awareness of the negative effect that tobacco can have on teen health.

Additional Information:


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