Declining trends in drug dealing among adolescents in the United States

Michael G. Vaughn, Millan A. AbiNader, Christopher P. Salas-Wright, Sehun Oh, Katherine J. Holzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: The link between drug selling and other delinquent behaviors in adolescence is well established. Less is known regarding the trends in drug selling among youth in the US and whether they are consistent with the recently observed decline in problem behaviors among this population. Methods: Data were collected between 2002 and 2015 as part of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Participants included 233,435 US youth aged 12–17. The primary variable of interest was self-reported past year drug-selling. Logistic regression assessed trends in drug-selling among male and female subgroups. Results: Between 2002 and 2015, the prevalence of drug-selling decreased significantly across all youth (AOR = 0.970, p <.001). Analysis of gender differences revealed that the rate of drug-selling decreased significantly among boys (AOR = 0.962, p <.001), however, the trend remained stable for girls (AOR = 0.987, p >.05). The decrease in drug-selling was observed for nearly all male subgroups, African-American girls (0.946, p <.01) and girls reporting no illegal substance use in the past year (0.960, p <.05). Conclusions: The prevalence of past year drug-selling among youth in the US is declining significantly, especially for boys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-109
Number of pages4
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Drug-selling
  • Gender differences
  • Trends
  • Youth


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