Teen Drug Use Remains High As Cigarette and Alcohol Use Wanes

Submitted on Jan 20, 2012

The Monitoring the Future (MTF) Annual Survey regarding teen drug use by researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor under a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) was recently released. MTF began polling teens in 1975 and according to this year's results, "cigarette and alcohol use by eighth, 10th and 12th-graders are at their lowest point." The results did show that more teens continue to abuse marijuana than cigarettes. “That cigarette use has declined to historically low rates is welcome news, given our concerns that declines may have slowed or stalled in recent years,” said NIDA director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. “That said, the teen smoking rate is declining much more slowly than in years past, and we are seeing teens consume other tobacco products at high levels. This highlights the urgency of maintaining strong prevention efforts against teen smoking and of targeting other tobacco products."

**In addition, concerns about the use of synthetic marijuana, known as K2 or spice, prompted its inclusion in the survey for the first time in 2011. Surprisingly, 11.4 percent of 12th-graders reported past year use. 'K2 and spice are dangerous drugs that can cause serious harm,' said Gil Kerlikowske, director of National Drug Control Policy. 'We will continue to work with the public health and safety community to respond to this emerging threat but in the meantime, parents must take action. Parents are the most powerful force in the lives of young people and we ask that all of them talk to their teens today about the serious consequences of using marijuana, K2, or spice'.” For the full article, please click here.