Teen Drug Use on the Decline

Despite the horror stories of teenagers overdosing everyday, a new study says drug use and smoking for high school students is on a steady decline.

A report put out on Tuesday from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says the use of illicit drugs, including marijuana, alcohol, tobacco and prescription medication is winding down among teenagers.

"It is encouraging to see more young people making healthy choices not to use illicit substances," said National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli. "We must continue to do all we can to support young people through evidence-based prevention efforts as well as treatment for those who may develop substance use disorders.

Illicit drug use for 8th graders was the lowest in the Monitoring the Future survey's history, while illicit drug use for substances other than marijuana is down from recent peaks in all three grades, the NIH said.

For 8th graders, marijuana use in the past month dropped to 5.4 from 6.5 percent in 2015, while daily use dropped to .7 from 1.1 percent the prior year. For high school seniors, 22.5 percent said they smoked marijuana in the last month and 6 percent said they used daily, which was relatively the same as 2015. The same stability applied to 10th graders, however, that percentage is at their lowest levels over two decades.

The survey suggests that marijuana and e-cigarettes are more popular than tobacco cigarettes, with more than 12 percent of 12th graders smoking e-cigarettes over 10 percent smoking traditional cigarettes.

In 2001, more than 53 percent of 12th graders had reported being drunk at least once. But in NIH’s latest survey, that number dropped to 37.3 percent, the report’s lowest rates ever.

Sourced from NIH.