Karen Siska-Creel fought pushback when she decided that all schools in her district should use life-saving medicines to treat overdoses of heroin, but she would not wait for someone to die.

Far fewer people in the United States started using heroin last year, but the decline among young new 18- to 25-year-old heroin users was almost imperceptible – and that age group saw a major leap forward in the use of methamphetamine and marijuana, a new research finds.

The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health emphasizes what makes these transitional young people & # 39; because they have higher percentages of cigarette use, alcohol abuse and heroin-use disorders, and they use more cocaine, meth and LSD than people who are younger and older.

The report, released by the Substance Abuse and the Mental Health Services Administration on Friday, showed a positive change among 18- to 25-year-olds: They use less opioid prescription less. In 2015, SAMHSA estimated 8.5 per cent of people in prescription opioids prescribed in that age group; that fell to just over 7 percent in 2017.

The report helps government officials, medical professionals, researchers and caregivers to understand the extent of substance use and mental illness in different age groups nationally, by state and in more local areas. It also helps them to measure the need for treatment services and to make policy decisions, says SAMHSA assistant secretary Elinore McCance-Katz, a psychiatrist.