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Kansas City, MO 64106
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The Monitoring The
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Kids & Drugs
High School & Youth Drug-Use Trends
Increased Use Reported

Since 1975 the Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey has measured drug, alcohol and cigarette use -- and related attitudes -- among adolescent students nationwide. Survey participants report their drug use behaviors across three time periods: lifetime, past year and past month. For some drugs, daily use is also reported. Youths surveyed are in the eighth, 10th and 12th grades.


The MTF survey is funded by NIDA and is conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. The 36th annual study was conducted during 2010 and raises concerns about increases in drug use among the nation’s teens, particularly the youngest.

Daily Marijuana use increased among eight, 10th and 12th graders from 2009 to 2010. Among 12th graders it was at its highest point since the early 1980s at 6.1%. The perceived risk of regular marijuana use also declined among 10th and 12th graders, suggesting future trends in use may continue upward.

In addition, most measures of marijuana use increased among eighth graders between 2009 and 2010 (past year, past month and daily), paralleling softening attitudes for the last two years about the risk of using marijuana.

Marijuana use is now ahead of cigarette smoking on some measures (due to decreases in smoking and recent increases in marijuana use). In 2010, 21.4% of high school seniors used marijuana in the past 30 days, while 19.2% smoked cigarettes.

Steady declines in cigarette smoking appear to have stalled in all three grades after several years of improvement on most measures.

After marijuana, prescription and over-the-counter medications account for most of the top drugs abused by 12th graders in the past year. Among 12th graders, past-year nonmedical use of Vicodin decreased from 9.7% to 8%. However, past-year nonmedical use of OxyContin remains unchanged across the three grades and has increased in 10th graders over the past five years. Moreover, past-year nonmedical use of Adderall and over-the-counter cough and cold medicines among 12th graders remains high at 6.5% and 6.6%, respectively.

After several years of decline, current and past year use of Ecstasy has risen among eighth and 10th graders. From 2009 to 2010, lifetime use of ecstasy among eighth graders increased from 2.2% to 3.3%, past year use from 1.3% to 2.4% and current use 0.6% to 1.1%. This follows declines in the perceived risk associated with MDMA use seen over the past several years.

Alcohol use has continued to decline among high school seniors with past-month use falling from 43.5% to 41.2% and alcohol binge drinking (defined as five or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks) declining from 25.2% to 23.2%. Declines were also observed for all measures among 12th graders reporting the use of flavored alcoholic beverages. Past-year use fell from 53.4% to 47.9%.


The Monitoring
The Future Survey

Facts Parents Need To Know
About Marijuana




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