Drug Abuse :: NIDA survey shows decrease in illicit drug use among nation’s teens

The 2006 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey of eighth, 10th and 12th graders indicates that their past-month use of illicit drugs has dropped 23.2 percent since 2001 (from 19.4 percent in 2001 to 14.9 percent in 2006).

By contrast, abuse of prescription opioids remains at unacceptably high levels. The study is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The survey showed that past-month marijuana use for all three grades combined declined significantly from 2005 to 2006. Further, since 2001, past-month use of marijuana for all three grades combined decreased by almost 25 percent (from 16.6 percent in 2001 to 12.5 percent in 2006). There was also good news about teen smoking as well as alcohol consumption. Cigarette smoking is at an all-time low for all three grades, and past-month alcohol use continued to trend downward.

Other findings from the survey show that between 2005 and 2006:

Past-year and past-month methamphetamine use decreased among 10th graders, with past-year falling from 2.9 percent to 1.8 percent, and past-month decreasing from 1.1 percent to 0.7%;
There was an increase in perceived harmfulness among 12th graders of heroin,ice, sedatives/barbiturates, and steroids;
There was a decrease in perceived harmfulness and disapproval of MDMA (or ecstasy) among eighth graders; and
Use of inhalants leveled off in 2006.

“There has been a substance abuse sea change among American teens,” said John P. Walters, director of National Drug Control Policy. “They are getting the message that dangerous drugs damage their lives and limit their futures. We know that if people don’t start using drugs during their teen years, they are very unlikely to go on to develop drug problems later in life. That?s why this sharp decline in teen drug use is such important news: It means that there will be less addiction, less suffering, less crime, lower health costs, and higher achievement for this upcoming generation of Americans.”

Leave a Comment