Katherine Merrow, Senior Research Associate at the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies recently released a study on Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in NH. The following is quoted from the study’s executive summary:
Two recent surveys indicate that New Hampshire teens use drugs at rates significantly higher than their national counterparts. One survey placed New Hampshire among the top 10 states in the nation in terms of the proportion of its teen population abusing either alcohol or drugs. The same survey placed New Hampshire in the top 10 for the proportion of teens needing — but not receiving — treatment for drug abuse. Both surveys indicate that rate of marijuana use among New Hampshire teens is one of the highest in the country.
…the results of the national surveys are consistent with other data on juveniles in the state, and point to a relatively high rate of drug use among the state’s teenagers and a low rate of drug treatment. While the exact size of the problem is difficult to measure, the results of one of the surveys — conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2002 — provide a credible estimate of the magnitude of the problem. SAMHSA estimates that 12 percent of New Hampshire’s teens, 13,600 young people, have a serious problem with alcohol or drugs or both.
Nationwide, 22 percent of respondents said that they had used marijuana in the past month; in New Hampshire, the corresponding figure was 31 percent – — the highest reported rate of any state participating in the survey.
Although rates of juvenile crime in most categories are low and falling in New Hampshire, the arrest rate of juveniles for drug crimes is the ninth highest in the country and rising. Drug charges against New Hampshire’s juveniles rose by 18 percent between 2000 and 2002.