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Friday, December 16, 2011

A Little Good News About Teens and Alcohol for a Change

The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) 2011 Monitoring the Future study of eighth, 10th and 12th-graders has a little good news for parents. It found that rates of teen smoking are slowly declining but that use of other tobacco products (e.g., hookahs, small cigars, smokeless tobacco), are climbing.

Alcohol use has shown definite declines over the past five years. This year, 63.5 percent of 12th-graders reported use, compared to 74.8 percent in 1997. And 26.9 percent of eighth-graders reported alcohol use in 2011, compared to 46.8 percent in 1994.

Marijuana, however, is a different story. Among 12th-graders, 36.4 percent reported past year use, and 6.6 percent reported daily use, up from 31.5 and 5 percent, respectively, five years ago.

Perhaps even more troubling, the risk and fear associated with marijuana use has dropped. Only 22.7 percent of high school seniors saw great risk in smoking marijuana occasionally, compared to 25.9 percent five years ago.

Forty three percent of eighth-graders reported that they saw great risk in smoking marijuana occasionally, compared to 48.9 percent five years ago. Use of synthetic marijuana like K2 or spice is also climbing.

The painkiller OxyContin is still quite popular among teens although Vicodin use was down slightly. Many of us have these prescription drugs in our homes from a past surgery or injury of some kind and we forget they are there. Now’s the time to get rid of them.

Almost 50,000 students from 400 public and private schools participated in this year's MTF survey.

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