Youth substance abuse down; heroin abuse climbs

Pamela Hyde, administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, discusses the results of its new report released Wednesday. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

WASHINGTON – Substance abuse among teenagers is declining, but heroin use is on the rise across all ages, the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health said.

The expansive report, which the Obama administration released Wednesday, details levels of drug and alcohol abuse in the United States.

The number of people abusing heroin more than doubled from 214,000 to 467,000, between 2002 and 2012, the report said.

Additionally, the number of people who say they recently used heroin rose from 373,000 in 2007 to 669,000 in 2012.

“Heroin use can have deadly consequences,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. “We will continue to monitor that closely.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration unveiled the study Wednesday at the National Press Club.

According to the report, there has been notable progress in lowering the rate of drug and alcohol abuse among children between the ages of 12 and 17.

“The number of youths declined from 2.2 million to 1.5 million,” Administrator Pamela Hyde said. “This is very good news.”

Read the full report here.

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