Last updated: April 6, 2020
It seems perhaps that kids today are using less illicit drugs then their parents did at the same age. USA Mobile Drug Testing compliance experts have complied some current information regarding teen drug use.
Results of this year’s Monitoring the Future survey were released at a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on December 19, 2012 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which sponsors the study, and the University of Michigan, which designed and conducted the study.
National samples of 45,000 to 50,000 students in three grades (8, 10, and 12) have been surveyed every year since 1991 as part of the nationwide Monitoring the Future study. Among the most important findings from this year’s survey of U.S. secondary school students are the following:
Marijuana. After four straight years of increasing use among teens, annual marijuana use showed no further increase in any of the three grades surveyed in 2012.
Synthetic Marijuana. Synthetic marijuana (sold as K-2, Spice, etc.) has been of increasing concern both because of its adverse effects and its high rates of use, first documented by this study last year. Use held level among 12th graders in 2012—the second year of measurement—at 11.3% annual prevalence.
Bath salts. So-called “bath salts,” so-called because they are often marketed as such, really are products containing designer drugs—synthetic cathinones, which are stimulants that have effects something like amphetamines. Questions on the use of these powerful and dangerous drugs were included in the survey for the first time in 2012. Fortunately, a relatively small proportion of teens indicate having used bath salts in the prior 12 months. The annual prevalence rates were 0.8%, 0.6%, and 1.3% for grades 8, 10, and 12, respectively.
Ecstasy. The annual prevalence of Ecstasy declined significantly this year in all three grades. Over the past dozen years, the use of Ecstasy has changed quite a bit, with rates being high in the early 2000s, decreasing through the mid-2000s, and then increasing since then, so this decline between 2011 and 2012 is welcome news. The 2012 annual prevalence rates are 1.1%, 3.0%, and 3.8% in grades 8, 10, and 12—less than half the peak rates observed in 2001.
Heroin. Use of heroin without a needle declined significantly in 8th and 12th grades and remained unchanged (but at lower than recent peak levels) in 10th grade. Annual prevalence rates are very low at 0.3% in grade 8 and 0.4% in grades 10 and 12. Use of heroin with a needle declined (not significantly) to 0.4% annual prevalence in all three grades. Both forms of heroin use are substantially below their recent peak levels, which generally occurred in the mid- to late- 1990s.
Adderall. One drug class that showed some sign of increasing use this year was Adderall, but only among 12th graders and not significantly. While the misuse (use outside of medical supervision) of Adderall may still be rising at grade 12, use is down from peak levels in grades 8 and 10 where it held steady this year.
Summary. The overall story this year is that the use of most illicit drugs among the nation’s teenagers are either holding steady from last year or showing some modest declines. In particular, marijuana use has stopped trending upward and synthetic marijuana did not show a rise this year, although it remains at high levels and is not declining despite DEA attempts to schedule many of the most common ingredients of synthetic marijuana. Another exception to this generally positive story is the appearance of a turnaround in alcohol use among the older teens.
For more information visit the Study website: www.monitoringthefuture.org
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