Latest Teen Survey on Drug Abuse — Good News/Areas of Concern

This year’s Monitoring the Future Survey, conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), is encouraging with declining drug use among high school teens. However, concerns remain about the persistent high rates of marijuana and nonmedical prescription drug use: The Good News • Cigarette smoking continues to fall to the lowest rate in the survey’s history. • Five-year trends showed significant decreases in alcohol use among all grades. • The use of Ecstasy showed a significant drop in past year use. • Overall, the use of most illicit drugs has either declined or remained steady from 2011 to 2012. Areas of Concern • Five-year trends are showing significant increases in past month (current) marijuana use among 10th and 12th graders and an increase in daily marijuana use across all three grades. • Many of the drugs used by 12th graders are prescription or over-the-counter medications. • The abuse of prescription stimulants is also a cause for concern. • The survey continues to show that most teens obtain prescription drugs like amphetamines, tranquilizers, or narcotics other than heroin, for free from friends and family; roughly 68% of 12th graders, for example, report getting prescription pain relievers this way.