Majority of Youth Obtain Marijuana from People They Know
do teenagers obtain marijuana?
They often get it from their friends or from family members or
relatives, according to recent data from SAMHSA's 2002 National
Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), formerly the National Household
Survey on Drug Abuse.
The survey, analyzed by gender and racial/ethnic groups for comparative
purposes, asked youth age 12 to 17 to report on their use of marijuana
during the prior year. The survey asked past-year marijuana users
specifically to report on the last time they used the drug—how
they obtained it, from whom, and where.
The survey shows that almost 4 million youth in this age group
(16 percent) used marijuana at least once in the past year.
Of those youth, more than 60 percent obtained their "most recently
used" marijuana for free or shared someone else's marijuana,
and about one-third purchased their marijuana. The majority received
marijuana from a friend—regardless of whether they bought
it, obtained it for free, or shared it (see
Compared to youth who obtained marijuana for free or shared it,
those who bought their marijuana were more likely to get it from
someone they just met or did not know well. Youths who bought their
marijuana were more likely to obtain it from relatives or family
than youths who got it free or shared it.
Regardless of how these youth obtained their marijuana, the most
common place where they got it was inside a home, apartment, or
dorm. And youth who received marijuana for free or shared it were
more likely than youth who bought
it to obtain the drug in three locations (48 versus 35 percent).
Youth who bought marijuana were more likely than youth who received
it for free or shared it to have obtained it in a public building,
outside in a public area, inside a school building, or outside on
Females (72 percent) were more likely than males (52 percent)
to obtain their marijuana for free or share it. On
the other hand, males (41 percent) were more likely than females
(22 percent) to pay for their marijuana.
The rate of past-year marijuana use was similar among young men
and young women in this age group, but white youth were more likely
to report using marijuana in the past year than Hispanic or black
According to the data, blacks were more likely than whites to
obtain marijuana outside in a public area and less likely than whites
or Hispanics to receive it inside a home, apartment, or dorm, regardless
of whether the marijuana was purchased.
The report showed that marijuana is often bought and sold in and
around schools. Nearly 14 percent of youth who bought marijuana
did so on school property (9 percent inside a school and 5 percent
outside on school property).
For a copy of this report, How Youths Obtain Marijuana,
contact SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information
at P.O. Box 2345, Rockville, MD 20847-2345. Telephone: 1 (800) 729-6686
(English and Spanish) or 1 (800) 487-4889 (TDD). The report
can also be downloaded from the SAMHSA
Web site at www.oas.samhsa.gov.
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