Teen Drug Use Declines 2003-2004 - But Concerns Remain About Rx Painkillers

Results from the annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey which is overseen by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, and conducted by the University of Michigan, indicate an almost 7 percent decline of any illicit drug use in the past month by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders combined from 2003 to 2004. The Monitoring the Future survey is designed to measure drug, alcohol, and cigarette use and related attitudes among 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students nationwide. The survey noted some areas that raise concern — for example, an increase in the use of prescription pain killers. While the rates of Vicodin abuse did not change significantly from 2003 to 2004, Vicodin was used by 9.3% of 12th graders, 6.2% of 10th graders and 2.5% of 8th graders in the past year. OxyContin was used in the past year by 5% of 12th graders, 3.5% of 10th graders and 1.7% of 8th graders in 2004. These rates were not significantly different from the rates in 2003; however, when all three grades were combined, there was a significant increase in past year OxyContin use between 2002 and 2004.