1997 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Preliminary Results
In response to propositions passed by voters in California and Arizona in 1996 for the legalization of some illicit drugs for certain medical uses, the NHSDA expanded its sample in those states in 1997 to measure the potential impact of these voter initiatives. Residents of California and Arizona age 12 and older were oversampled in the 1997 NHSDA beginning in Quarter 2. The final sample size for Quarters 2 through 4 consisted of a total of 19,361 persons age 12 and older, including 4,360 persons in California and 4,415 persons in Arizona. In addition, the NHSDA sample in California was large enough in 1994 through 1996 to allow examination of key trends for that state. For the trend analyses, data for all four quarters of 1997 were used.
This section compares the prevalence and perceived risk of drug use among the civilian, noninstitutionalized population age 12 and older residing in California, Arizona, and the remainder of the United States. Because oversampling in California and Arizona began in Quarter 2 of the 1997 NHSDA, the estimates in this section are based solely on 1997 NHSDA data collected in Quarters 2 through 4.
oThe prevalence of current use of any illicit drugs among people age 12 and older was somewhat higher in California (8.3 percent) and Arizona (8.4 percent) compared with the remainder of the U.S. excluding these two states (6.1 percent) (see Figure 18). As in the total U.S., marijuana was the most commonly used drug in these two states.
oYouth age 12-17 in Arizona had considerably higher rates of current use of any illicit drugs and marijuana compared with California and the remainder of the U.S. In Arizona, 16.8 percent of youth were current illicit drug users, compared with 9.1 percent of youth in California and 11.9 percent of youth in the remainder of the U.S. (see Figure 17). Similarly, 13.1 percent of youth in Arizona were current marijuana users, compared with 6.6 percent of youth in California and 9.9 percent of youth in the remainder of the U.S.
oAn estimated 8.2 percent of all California adults age 18 and older and 7.3 percent of Arizona adults were current users of any illicit drugs. In comparison, 5.4 percent of adults age 18 and older in the remainder of the U.S. were current illicit drug users.
oCalifornians were more likely to perceive great risk in smoking cigarettes than the remainder of the nation. Californians and Arizonans were less likely to perceive great risk in using marijuana than residents of the remainder of the U.S.
This section discusses trends in drug use and perceived risk since 1994 among Californians age 12 and older. Unlike the preceding section, the California estimates for 1997 that are discussed in this section are based on data from all four quarters in 1997, because the sample in California was large enough in the past four years to make estimates of drug use for that state since 1994. However, readers should note that the estimates presented in this section may not match the preceding 1997 estimates for California.
oThere was no upward trend in marijuana use between 1996 and 1997 in California, either for adults or for youth age 12-17. Rates have been stable since 1994 (4.9 to 5.8 percent for adults and 7.3 to 6.8 percent for youth).
oAmong Californians age 18 and older, most perceptions of great risk associated with using different drugs remained fairly constant between 1996 and 1997. In particular, about 39 to 40 percent perceived great risk associated with smoking marijuana once a month, and about 53 to 54 percent perceived great risk associated with smoking marijuana once or twice a week. The large majority (77 percent) of adults in each year perceived great risk associated with using cocaine once a month.
oAmong California youths age 12-17, the perceived risk of marijuana use did not change significantly between 1996 and 1997.
oA significantly lower percentage of California youth age 12-17 in 1997 reported great risk associated with use of cocaine once a month (54 percent) compared with 1994 (61 percent).
This page was last updated on February 05, 2009.