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January 1979

Illicit Drug Use Among Urban AdolescentsA Decade in Retrospect

Am J Dis Child. 1979;133(1):38-40. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1979.02130010044006

• Over the past decade (1967 to 1977), 76,000 adolescents were screened for a history and somatic signs of illicit drug use at a detention center for juveniles and at an adolescent inpatient unit of a university-affiliated hospital. Dramatic changes in the patterns of drug abuse are reported. Opiate use was prominent in the first half of the decade with a peak in 1970 to 1971 and marijuana use more prominent in the last five years. Inhalant abuse as represented by glue and halogenated cleaning fluids was documented only early in the decade, while the existence of stimulant and depressant abuse follows still other patterns over the decade. Hospital admissions for serious somatic complications of illicit drug use, namely, overdose, drugrelated death, hepatic coma, detoxification, and viral hepatitis, were correlated only with trends in the use of opiates. Awareness of drug abuse patterns among adolescents is important for the health professional so that complications can be diagnosed and treated and educational efforts properly directed.

(Am J Dis Child 133:38-40, 1979)