Shocking Trends in American Teen Drug Use Revealed
The National Institute of Drug Abuse recently released the results of their 2015 Monitoring the Future survey. It shows that drug use among teens has been stable or decreased across nearly all substances of abuse.
Though you might not guess it from the irresponsible, often dangerously inaccurate media coverage of drug related emergencies, teen use of almost all drugs has remained level, or gone down. Cigarette smoking has continued to decline, reaching it's lowest levels in years - among 10th graders it has gone down from 6.6% 5 years ago to 3% in 2015. Alcohol use has also continued to decline, down to 17.2 percent among high school seniors, down from it's peak of 31.5 percent in 1998. MDMA use has also decreased among seniors, from 5% in 2014 to 3.6% in 2015. These are some highlights from the study:
- Use of many illicit drugs has trended down. Among high school seniors, 23.6 percent report using an illicit drug in the past month, with 7.6 percent reporting they used an illicit drug other than marijuana.
- Perception of marijuana use as risky continues to decline, with 31.9 percent of seniors saying regular use could be harmful, compared to 36.1 percent last year.
- Past year use of synthetic cannabinoids ("synthetic marijuana") is at 5.2 percent for 12th graders, down significantly from 11.4 in 2011, the first year it was measured in the survey.
- Past year use of heroin, typically very low among teens, is at an all-time low at 0.3 percent for eighth graders, and 0.5 for 10th and 12th graders.
- Use of MDMA (also known as Ecstasy or Molly), inhalants, and LSD are generally stable or down. In 2015, 3.6 percent of seniors reported past year use of MDMA, compared to 5 percent in 2014.
- Non-medical use of the prescription amphetamine Adderall, typically given for ADHD, remains high at 7.5 percent among 12th graders.
- Use of prescription opioids continues its downward trend, with 4.4 percent of high school seniors reporting non-medical use of Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetaminophen), down from a peak of 10.5 percent in 2003.
Read the full study here.