2015 Survey on Teen Drug Use Trends Released

Teen Drug Use

Every year, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA, releases its findings on teen drug use trends. Their research gauges the prevalence of and attitudes toward drug use among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, with 44,892 students from 382 public and private schools nationwide participating last year.

Overall, this year’s Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey revealed some encouraging news on teen drug use — a decline in abuse of certain substances — while in other areas, drug use has remained stable, highlighting needed focus areas.

Here are the key takeaway’s from NIDA’s most recent findings.

2015 Teen Drug Use Trends

Cigarettes Down – Because Marijuana Use is Up

For the first time in the history of the survey, daily cigarette was exceeded by marijuana use among 12th graders. Marijuana use was at 6% compared to 5.5% for cigarette use, down from 6.7% in 2014.

Teens’ perception of marijuana has also changed, with a decline in teens that think marijuana use is risky.

Experts, including the director of NIDA, agree that this rate of marijuana use is a concern because the drug can have very negative effects on teens’ developing brains.

Other Illicit Drugs Trend Down

Overall, use of many illicit drugs is down. 23.6% of high school seniors reported use of an illicit drug in the past month; 7.6% of them reported use of an illegal drug other than marijuana.

Use of heroin was at an all-time low of 0.3% for 8th graders and 0.5% for 10th and 12th graders. Prescription opioid use was also thankfully down, with just 4.4% of seniors reporting non-medical use. Those teens that did use them reported obtaining them from friends and family and getting them from their own prescriptions.

Alcohol Use Declines Gradually

Alcohol use has been trending down in the past 5 years. This includes binge drinking (reported by 17.2% of high school seniors). 37.7% of all 12th graders reported being drunk in the past year, down from 41.4% in 2014.

Monitoring Your Teen

If you are concerned that your teen may be abusing drugs or alcohol, contact Test Smartly Labs of Kansas City today for assistance. We can perform drug or alcohol testing, including testing for marijuana, synthetic drugs, and prescriptions.

To learn more, call us today at (816) 875-0464.

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