Drug use among New Jersey high school students is down, with the majority (62.6 percent) saying they have not used any illegal drugs in their lifetimes, according to the 2011 New Jersey Student Health Survey, a biannual survey of students conducted by the state Department of Education. For almost all categories of drugs, including marijuana, inhalants, cocaine, methamphetamines, steroids, and heroin, students are using the least amount of illicit drugs since the study was first conducted in 1995.
Only 36.9 percent of high school students used marijuana, 4.3 percent before the age of 13. Males were more likely to have smoked pot (41 percent vs. 33 percent) than females, and the older the students are, the more likely they’ve used it: 57 percent of those 18 years old have used marijuana. There was little difference among race or ethnicity in the use of this drug.
The biggest drop in usage was with inhalants, which was 19.6 percent in 1995 and 9.9 percent last year; cocaine, which was 6.9 percent in 1995 and 4.4 percent in 2011, and methamphetamines, 7.7 percent in 2001 and 2.7 percent last year. Steroid use was 2.3 percent and heroin was 1.6 percent. Students were more likely to illicitly use prescription drugs (15.1 percent), over the counter drugs (8.3 percent), and ecstasy (7.1 percent).