Results from new national survey conducted by researchers at University of Michigan indicate that teenage use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs is down to rates at their lowest since the 1990s. About 45,000 students in grades 8, 10 and 12 were surveyed from 380 public and private schools as part of the annual Monitoring the Future study, now its in 42nd year.

Fewer teens reported using any serious drug other than marijuana in 2016 than any year since 1991: 5% of 8th graders, 10% of 10th graders, and 14% of 12th graders. Marijuana use itself also saw a decline in 2016 among 8th and 10th graders, but curiously saw a rise among 12th graders, at 36%. Holding nearly steady since 2011, marijuana usage among high school seniors also remained at about the same level in daily or near-daily use, defined as using marijuana 20 or more times during the last 30 days.

The use of prescription amphetamines among teens has also seen a drastic decline, down to 3.5% from peak levels of 9% in 8th graders reached during the last half of the 1990s.

Lloyd Johnston, the study’s principal investigator, described the overall trend of declining drug use among teens.

“That’s still a lot of young people using these dangerous drugs without medical supervision, but the trending is in the right direction. Fewer are risking overdosing as teenagers, and hopefully more will remain abstainers as they pass into their twenties, thereby reducing the number who become casualties in those high-risk years.”

As far as MDMA usage goes, Johnston said that numbers among teens have been steadily declining since 2010. This year, only 1, 2 and 3% usage were found in the respective grades.

“The use of MDMA has generally been declining among teens since about 2010 or 2011, and it continued to decrease significantly in 2016 in all three grades even with the inclusion of Molly in the question in more recent years,” Johnston said.

To learn more about drug consumption rates among teens in 2016, read through the full study findings here.


Source: The Science Explorer