Marijuana use among teenagers increased this year after previous declines, while the use of other illicit drugs like cocaine mostly declined.
According to an annual National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded survey of nearly 47,000 students, almost one-third of 12th-graders and more than one-quarter of 10th-graders reported using marijuana in 2009. Almost 12% of eighth-graders reported marijuana use, an increase from about 11% in 2008.
The survey, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, asked teenagers to report on the use of smoking, alcohol use and drug use, including non-medical uses of prescription painkillers and over-the-counter cold and cough products.
The report showed cigarette smoking was at the lowest point since the survey started in 1975, although the use of smokeless-tobacco products increased on some measures this year.
Daily cigarette use by 12th-graders was 11.2%, a slight drop from 11.4% in 2008, while any use during the past 30 days was 20.1%, also a slight decline from 2008. Smokeless-tobacco use during the past 30 days in 2009 was reported by 8.4% of students in 12th grade, up from 6.5% in 2008.
Researchers said one of the reasons smoking rates have declined is that the percentage of students who reported ever trying smoking has “fallen dramatically.” For example in 1996, 49% of eighth-graders reported trying cigarettes, compared with 20% this year.
Alcohol use stayed about the same last year, with more than half of 10th-graders and about two-thirds of seniors reporting alcohol use in the past year.
The survey showed past-year use of cocaine decreased to 3.4% from 4.4% in 2008 among 12th-graders, along with declines in the use of hallucinogens and methamphetamine.
The use of over-the-counter cold and cough medicines to get high, however, edged up among all age groups, with 6% of 10th-graders reporting non-medical use of the products last year.
The annual survey also found continuing high rates of prescription-drug abuse, with almost 10% of 12th-graders reporting non-medical use of the painkiller Vicodin last year, the same rate as 2008. Almost 5% of high-school seniors reported using OxyContin for a non-medical use in 2009, a slight uptick from 2008.
Researchers said 66% of teens reported obtaining the prescription drugs from a friend or relative, while 19% said they received the drugs with a doctor’s prescription, and 8% said they bought the drugs from a dealer.
– Article from The Wall Street Journal.