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1998 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse

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11. CALIFORNIA AND ARIZONA

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 sample was supplemented in those states in 1997 and 1998 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 April 1997, and for all 12 months of 1998. In addition, the NHSDA sample in California was large enough in 1995 and 1996 to allow examination of longer term trends for that state. For the Arizona trend analyses, data for nine months of 1998 were used so that the time periods covered were consistent with 1997 estimates. All 12 months of data were used for California estimates for all years.

Prevalence and Perceived Risk of Drug Use in California, Arizona, and the Remainder of the U.S.

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 in 1998.

In 1998, the prevalence of illicit drug use among persons 12 years and older was 7.2 percent in California, 7.4 percent in Arizona, and 6.1 percent in the rest of the United States (Figure 18). These differences are not statistically significant. As in the total U.S., marijuana was the most commonly used drug in these two states.

Youths age 12-17 in Arizona had higher rates of current use of any illicit drug and marijuana compared with California and the remainder of the U.S. In Arizona, 14.4 percent of youths were current illicit drug users, compared with 9.9 percent in California and 9.9 percent of youths in the remainder of the U.S. (Figure 18). Similarly, 11.5 percent of youths in Arizona were current marijuana users, compared with 7.4 percent in California and 8.3 percent in the remainder of the U.S.

An estimated 6.8 percent of California adults age 18 and older and 6.5 percent of Arizona adults were current users of any illicit drug. In comparison, 5.7 percent of adults age 18 and older in the remainder of the U.S. were current illicit drug users.

Californians were more likely to perceive great risk in smoking cigarettes than the remainder of the nation. Californians and Arizonians were less likely to perceive great risk in using marijuana than residents of the remainder of the U.S.

California Trends in Drug Use and Perceived Risk, 1995-1998

There was no significant change in marijuana use between 1997 and 1998 in California, either for adults or for youths age 12-17. The rates for youths were 6.8 percent in 1997 and 7.4 percent in 1998. Rates for both youths and adults have been stable since 1995.

Among Californians age 12-17, 18-25, and 26 and older, perceptions of great risk associated with using different drugs remained fairly constant between 1997 and 1998.

Arizona Trends in Drug Use and Perceived Risk, 1997-1998

There were significant decreases from 1997 to 1998 in the rate of illicit drug use among Arizona youth age 12-17 (from 16.8 percent to 13.4 percent) and young adults age 18-25 (from 21.8 percent to 17.2 percent).

Among Arizona youths age 12-17, there were significant increases in the percentage reporting great risk in smoking one or more packs of cigarettes per day (from 54.2 percent to 59.1 percent), using marijuana once or twice a week (from 46.6 percent to 52.7 percent), and having four or five drinks nearly every day (from 59.8 percent to 64.2 percent).

Among Arizona adults age 26 and older, the percentage reporting great risk in using cocaine once a month decreased from 80.3 in 1997 to 75.0 in 1998, and the percentage reporting great risk in using cocaine once or twice a week decreased from 93.7 in 1997 to 90.3 in 1998.

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This page was last updated on June 01, 2008.