With moderate use, marijuana remains the most benign substance on the drug scene, safer not only than cocaine or heroin but alcohol, pharmaceuticals, and certainly cigarettes. Most teenagers have tried smoking cigarettes or drinking a beer at some point in their younger years. A much smaller number drink to excess or have tried hard drugs. Substance use follows distinct trends, with certain substances moving up the charts (marijuana) while others almost disappear (heroin). Marijuana use has become more common over the years than the use of other illicit drugs. All of these substances are subject to supply and demand, as well as to regulation and law enforcement. This chapter analyzes drug use by American teenagers, beginning with smoking and alcohol use and then moving on to harder or illegal drugs. It also discusses five examples of programs that had an impact on smoking and substance abuse.
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