Fewer Teens Getting Lit, New Study Reveals

Fewer Teens Getting Lit, New Study Reveals
Susan Dutca-Lovell

Teenagers aren't using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco as much as they used to, according to a new national study. Substance use rates have declined significantly and are at their lowest since the 1990s. Despite this trend, researchers caution that there is still high use of marijuana for a certain age group.

The Monitoring the Future study, conducted by U-M's Institute for Social Research, surveyed roughly 45,000 students in 380 public and private secondary schools in grades 8, 10, and 12. Results indicated that the number of secondary students who used "any illicit drug in the prior year" decreased significantly from 2015 and 2016. While the study focuses on high school students, the results indicate "the patterns of drug and alcohol use of those who will soon enter higher education," according to a Inside Higher Ed.

This is good news, according to Dr. Nora Volkow, the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She claims "we are seeing some of the lowest rates of drug use we've ever encountered in our [40-year] survey, and that is for cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, and inhalants."

Marijuana remains the most widely used of the illicit drugs, but the rate of use dropped significantly in 2016 among 8th graders. The use of marijuana among 12th graders on the other hand, has increased to 36 percent. Daily or frequent use of marijuana among high school seniors remains "quite high" at 6 percent for every 1 in 17 seniors.

Even alcohol consumption decreased in 2016 for all three grade levels and are at historic lows. Binge drinking has decreased "by half or more" among all three grade levels "since peak rates were reached at the end of the 1990s."

Do you even vape? Well, studies also reveal that teens aren't lighting up as often as they used to when it comes to cigarette smoking, e-cigs and hookah. According to Volkow, in the "case of nicotine, reductions have been very dramatic: fourfold decreases over a period of 10 or 15 years."

Are you surprised with these findings? In your opinion, what do you think caused these significant declines?

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