Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Several important findings come out of this year’s Monitoring the Future study, the 36th annual, national survey of American teens in a series that launched in 1975.
•Marijuana use, which had been rising among teens for the past two years, continues to rise again this year — a sharp contrast to the considerable decline of the preceding decade.
•Ecstasy use—which fell out of favor in the early 2000s as concerns about its dangers grew—appears to be making a comeback this year, following a considerable recent decline in the belief that its use is dangerous.
•Alcohol use—and, specifically, occasions of heavy drinking—continues its long-term decline among teens into 2010, reaching historically low levels.
Monitoring the Future, conducted by a team of social scientists at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, has been funded since its inception under a series of research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one of the National Institutes of Health. In 2010, more than 46,000 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, enrolled in nearly 400 secondary public and private schools, participated in the study.
The proportion of young people using any illicit drug has been rising over the past three years, due largely to increased use of marijuana—the most widely used of all the illicit drugs. The proportion of 8th graders who reported using at least one illicit drug in the prior 12 months (called annual prevalence) rose from 13% in 2007 to 16% in 2010, including a statistically significant increase of 1.6 percentage points this year. Among both 10th and 12th graders annual prevalence has increased by two percentage points since 2007. In 2010, the proportions using any illicit drug during the past year were 16%, 30%, and 38% in grades 8, 10, and 12 respectively.