The latest annual Monitoring the Future report, which surveys the attitudes of 45,000 students from 380 public and private secondary schools across the country, showed that while teen drinking, smoking and overall drug use is stable, marijuana use is on the rise.
Twenty four percent of the eighth, 10th and 12th graders surveyed said they used marijuana in the past year and 11 percent of high school seniors said they had vaped with marijuana or hash oil.
It’s the first time in seven years that there’s been a statistically significant increase in marijuana use, lead study author Richard Miech, told CNN.com. In fact, more high school seniors use marijuana on a daily basis than smoke cigarettes. What’s more, seniors from states with medical marijuana laws were more likely to have vaped marijuana and consumed edibles than those in states with more restrictive laws.
These findings aren’t too surprising, Miech told CNN.com: “Typically, as adolescents see less risk of marijuana use, the prevalence (of use) increases. And today, levels of perceived risk from marijuana use are at the lowest levels we’ve ever seen in decades.”
Nine states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. Medical marijuana is legal in another 29 states.
“My fear is that we may be seeing the start of a long-term increase in marijuana use among youth,” Miech added.
Indeed, an uptick in teens using pot is a big concern. Studies show that adolescents and young adults are more likely to become addicted to marijuana and regular use of the drug can wreak havoc on the developing brain, including impaired intellectual development and an increased risk of schizophrenia.
More Findings from Monitoring the Future
The survey showed that more teens are wise to the risks associated with opioids, alcohol and cigarettes, but less aware of the negative consequences of vaping, pot and inhalants. Here’s a look at some more specifics from the report:
- Teens are misusing opioid pain medications less than they did 10 years ago.
- Binge drinking (defined as having five or more drinks in a row sometime in the last two weeks) stayed at a similar level as in 2016.
- Cigarettes are being used less often. In 1997, nearly 25 percent of 12th graders said they smoked them; in the latest survey, just over 4 percent did.
- Close to 28 percent of high school seniors reported vaping. Nearly 52 percent of 12th graders who used a vaping device said it was “just flavoring,” close to 33 percent said “nicotine,” and just over 11 percent said “marijuana” or “hash oil.”
- Use of inhalants among 8th graders is back up to 2015 levels, with nearly 5 percent saying they used inhalants in 2017. This had dropped to under 4 percent in 2016.
Treatment for At-Risk Youth
At Family Recovery Specialists, we treat adolescents and young adults experimenting or abusing drugs as well those with a true addiction. To learn more about how we can help your family learn to make smart choices, call us today: 305-595-7378.