NATION : Crack Use Declines in High Schools

From Times wire services

Use of crack cocaine has declined among high school seniors because of changing attitudes and increased knowledge about the drug’s harmful effects, a survey said today.

The 1988 National High School Senior Survey, conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, found use of all drugs generally declined among American students in high school and college. Overall, the proportion of seniors using any illicit drug during the prior year fell from 42% in 1987 to 39% in 1988. This compares with 54% in 1979, the peak year.

The study’s director, Lloyd Johnston, said the drop in the use of crack--a highly addictive smokeable derivative of cocaine--is one of the most important findings of the survey of about 16,000 to 17,000 seniors in 135 high schools nationwide. The survey was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an arm of the Department of Health and Human Services.