Scholarship News

Fewer Teens Getting Lit, New Study Reveals


December 13, 2016
by 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.

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.

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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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Lesley Septimo  on  12/17/2016 6:12:16 PM commented:

I'm a student with friends like this. It's bordem. It's school. It's stress. Its where we live. It's lack of basic needs. It's growing up with negative influence surrounding us at every corner. It's giving up because there's no dreams /goals we can accomplish at instant access which fogs value for everything. It's lies we've been taught about Christopher Columbus in elementary or middle school. The system of education and perspective of others that are not in our position to give opinions or decisions but have full access to it. Not trying to influence it but their mindset is, "Better to be gone than in reality where nothing's fair or right because no one cares."

Madison M  on  12/17/2016 1:30:10 PM commented:

I often feel alone when students talk about drug use and abuse and I want to change that!

Rebecka V  on  12/14/2016 10:01:19 AM commented:

I've spoken to a lot of fellow students, most of which partake in smoking and drugs. From what I gathered, boredom is a leading cause for their actions. They have no hobbies or extra curricular activities to occupy them. As it stands now, however, schools are bombarding students with more work than necessary and it is consuming far more hours than necessary. With an average of six classes a day, and I am speaking now from experience, and a required minimum of two hours of homework per class there is literally no time for healthy social interaction, sleep, or any activities good or bad. Some may find this beneficial but they are only looking at a drop in drugs and e-ciggarettes. The stress level of teens has sky rocketed over the years and according to the Amercan Psycological Association students report feeling far more stressed than adults. The obvious cause of this is school, the "second home" of every child for an average of 14 years. The work load of students is not all that has doubled. Teachers are being bombarded with work and stress as well. A teacher's pay is based on their students' test scores, and what does that mean? Students are being taught how to pass tests, not how to see the world from a knowledgable perspective. The kicker of it all is these grades also "rate" a teacher. So, if a teacher that goes out of his or her way to get real knowledge to their students, whether it be by spending hours on well thought out discussions involving their life experiences or simply going over everything in class without assignments, they will be rated less if some of their students do badly. Whereas a far less engaging teacher that gives students a packet with test answers and says to study it for the test, would get a higher rating for supplying pretests rather than valuable knowledge. School is supposed to be encouraging and valuable. It should offer activities to disway the use of drugs and such. But as it stands, school is all consuming, and it is hard to d

Liliana R  on  12/13/2016 9:38:44 PM commented:

I believe that the decrease in use of cigarettes, hukkahs, vape pens, and alcohols has decreased, simply because of how easy it is to get a hold on these things. I think some substance abuse among many young people only occurs because the items are almost always on hand. However, most teens actually seem to do something deliberately wrong, because it makes them feel a little wild. So, because of this, most have moved on to something a little more tricky, and that is marajuana. Other drugs such as cocaine and meth are not thier substance of choice, because they are able to rationalize that those drugs can easily end their lives.

Megan M.  on  12/13/2016 7:07:48 PM commented:

I think in my opinion what caused the significant decrease of the drug abuse and alcohol substances to drop was probably that a lot are seeing damages and physical changes. Also mabey even they are starting to look at there future; husband/wife, kids money? This could be why there actually trying to work away from these things.

Victoria Ragbeer  on  12/13/2016 6:12:30 PM commented:

Well isn't that a good thing? I mean, doing drugs and alcohol as a teen isn't necessarily healthy. And with the statics proving not much is happening; is better for society and especially the young adults.

Jakai T  on  12/13/2016 5:50:59 PM commented:

I don't think the marijuana will ever go down very much because, unlike the others, it doesn't kill. At least from my findings. But I'm glad to see my generation having more common sense.

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