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June 1, 1994

Addiction Medicine

Author Affiliations

Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1994;271(21):1650-1651. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510450022011

Debate has intensified this year in political, media, and scientific circles regarding the success or failure of the "War on Drugs." Surgeon General Elders' call to study the matter this year has met with swift response. Two recent opinion articles, from an addiction medicine perspective, highlight the pros and cons of changing existing drug use laws.1,2

Recent optimism regarding decreasing drug use in high school students has been tempered by a closer examination of the data and recent trends. According to the American Drug and Alcohol Survey, after a 5-year drop in drug use by high school students, there are early indications of a rise in the percentage of eighth graders who have tried marijuana and inhalants.3 This survey echoes the National Survey of Secondary School Students, which also found statistically significant increases in the use of drugs in eighth graders.4 These statistics do not include the

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