Report: Marijuana use up, alcohol use down among U.S. teens

Drug News

Results from the latest teen survey from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) are a mixed bag. The survey showed fewer teens are turning to alcohol and cigarettes than ever before. But the “Monitoring the Future” survey also found that marijuana use is rising steadily among America’s teens.

The findings are based on a survey of 47,000 eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan on behalf of the NIDA. The researchers found one out of every 15 high school seniors smokes pot on a daily or near-daily basis. That’s the highest rate since 1981.

The percentage of teens saying they see “great risk” in using marijuana has dropped in recent years.

“One thing we’ve learned over the years is that when young people come to see a drug as dangerous, they’re less likely to use it,” said survey author Dr. Lloyd Johnston, a distinguished senior research scientist at the University of Michigan. “That helps to explain why marijuana right now is rising.”

It’s the fourth straight year marijuana use grew among teens compared with last decade when pot use declined among teens.

The survey found more than 36 percent of 12th-graders used marijuana in the past year, compared to nearly 32 percent in the 2007 survey. Almost 29 percent of 10th-graders and 12.5 percent of eighth-graders used marijuana in the past year, the survey showed.