Alcohol and Tobacco Use by Young People as Gateway Factors for Eventual Use of Other Drugs

"• In 2013, the rate of current illicit drug use among youths aged 12 to 17 who smoked cigarettes in the past month was approximately 9 times the rate among youths who did not smoke cigarettes in the past month (53.9 vs. 6.1 percent). Also, the rate of current marijuana use in 2013 among youths aged 12 to 17 who smoked cigarettes in the past month was about 11 times the rate among youths who did not smoke cigarettes (49.5 vs. 4.6 percent).
"• In 2013, the rate of current illicit drug use was associated with the level of past month alcohol use. Among youths aged 12 to 17 who were heavy drinkers (i.e., consumed five or more drinks on the same occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days), 62.3 percent were current illicit drug users and 57.9 percent were current marijuana users. These rates were higher than the rates among youths who were not current alcohol users (4.9 percent for current illicit drug use and 3.3 percent for current marijuana use). Additionally, among youths aged 12 to 17 who were binge but not heavy alcohol users (i.e., consumed five or more drinks on the same occasion on 1 to 4 days in the past 30 days), 46.6 percent were current illicit drug users and 43.2 percent were current marijuana users (with the marijuana use rate being higher than the 2012 rate of 37.8 percent).
"• In 2013, the rate of current illicit drug use among youths aged 12 to 17 who both smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol in the past month was approximately 16 times the rate among those who neither smoked cigarettes nor drank alcohol in the past month (64.5 vs. 3.9 percent). Additionally, the rate of current marijuana use among youths aged 12 to 17 who both smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol in the past month was about 25 times the rate among those who neither smoked cigarettes nor drank alcohol in the past month (59.7 vs. 2.4 percent)."

Source: 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-48, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14-4863. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014, p. 31.
http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSD...
http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSD...

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