Overall Use of Illicit Substances Down Among Teens — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
December 14, 2016

Overall Use of Illicit Substances Down Among Teens

By Kelly Young

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Lorenzo Di Francesco, MD, FACP, FHM

Fewer adolescents are using drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol than in the past, according to results from the NIH-funded Monitoring the Future annual survey.

Over 45,000 junior high and high school students were surveyed in 2016. Among the findings:

  • Past-month marijuana use fell among eighth graders from 6.5% to 5.4% over the past year, but use was fairly steady among 12th graders.

  • States with medical marijuana laws had higher rates of past-year marijuana and marijuana edible use among 12th graders than states without such laws.

  • Cigarette smoking continues its long decline: 1.8% of 12th graders reported smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day, compared with 11% in 1991.

  • E-cigarette use was more common than cigarette smoking, but the proportion of seniors who vaped dropped from 16% in 2015 to 12%.

  • A record low 37% of 12th graders said they had been drunk sometime in the past year.

  • Seniors' past-year use of prescription opioids has fallen 45% in the past 5 years.

Reader Comments (2)


I believe the article also stated:

However, among high school seniors, 22.5 percent report past month marijuana use and 6 percent report daily use; both measures remained relatively stable from last year. Similarly, rates of marijuana use in the past year among 10th graders also remained stable compared to 2015, but are at their lowest levels in over two decades.

The survey also shows that there continues to be a higher rate of marijuana use among 12th graders in states with medical marijuana laws, compared to states without them. For example, in 2016, 38.3 percent of high school seniors in states with medical marijuana laws reported past year marijuana use, compared to 33.3 percent in non-medical marijuana states, reflecting previous research that has suggested that these differences precede enactment of medical marijuana laws.

The conclusions were that: "when 6 percent of high school seniors are using marijuana daily, and new synthetics are continually flooding the illegal marketplace, we cannot be complacent. We also need to learn more about how teens interact with each other in this social media era, and how those behaviors affect substance use rates."

Might be nice to highlight more info and be less "headlines" oriented.

Dr M D Murray MB ChB FRCA FFICM Physician, Critical Care Medicine, United Kingdom

Oh dear... this wont suit the pro drug users who claim that all drug legislation has been a "complete failure"

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