December 09, 2009

The Good News

Percentage of U.S. twelth grade students reposting past month use of cigarettes and marijuana, 1975 to 2009Source: The 2009 Monitoring the Future study, the University of Michigan
  • In 2009, cigarette smoking continues at its lowest point in the history of the survey on all measures for 8th, 10th, and 12th graders.
  • Between 2004 and 2009, a drop in past year use of methamphetamine was reported for all grades.
  • Among 10th and 12th graders, 5-year declines were reported for past year use of amphetamine and cocaine. Among 12th graders, past year use of cocaine decreased from 4.4% in 2008 to 3.4% in 2009.
  • From 2004 to 2009, decreases were observed in lifetime, past year, past month, and binge use of alcohol across the three grades.
  • In 2009, past year use of hallucinogens fell among 12th graders from 5.9% to 4.7%. Past year use of LSD also declined from 2008 to 2009 among 12th graders, from 2.7% to 1.9%. In addition, past year use of hallucinogens other than LSD, also among 12th graders, decreased from 5% to 4.2%.
  • Attitudes toward substance abuse, often seen as harbingers of change in use, showed many favorable changes. Among 12th graders, perceived harmfulness of LSD, amphetamines, sedatives/barbiturates, heroin, and cocaine increased. Across the three grades perceived availability of several drugs also declined.

Areas of Concern

Prescription/Over-the-Counter Drugs Account for 9 out of 13 of the Most Frequently Abused Drugs. Prevalence of Past Year Drug Use Among 12th Graders. All numbers are in percentages: Marijuana/Hashish 32.8, Vicodin 9.7, Amphetamines 6.6, Tranquilizers 6.3,  Cough Medicine 5.9, Adderall 5.4, Sedatives	5.2, OxyContin 4.9, Hallucinogens 4.7, MDMA (Ecstasy) 4.3, Cocaine (any form) 3.4, Inhalants 3.4, Ritalin 2.1.
Source of Prescription Narcotics Used Non-medically by 12th graders (categories not mutually exclusive) in the past year. Internet 0 percent, Other 10.6 percent, bought from dealer and or stranger 13 percent, took from friend and or relative 18.6 percent, prescription 30.3 percent, bought from friend and or relative 33.6 percent, and given by friend and or relative 51.5 percent.Source: The 2009 Monitoring the Future study, the University of Michigan
  • Marijuana use across the three grades has shown a consistent decline since the mid-1990's, but the trend has stalled with prevalence rates remaining steady over the last 5 years. Past year use was reported by 11.8% of 8th graders, 26.7% of 10th graders, and 32.8% of 12th graders. Also, perceived risk of regular use of marijuana decreased among 8th and 10th graders, while perceived availability declined among 12th graders.
  • Past year non-medical use of Vicodin and OxyContin increased during the last 5 years among 10th graders; and remained unchanged in 8th and 12th graders. Nearly 1 in 10 high school seniors reported non-medical use of Vicodin; 1 in 20 reported abuse of OxyContin.
  • When asked how prescription narcotics were obtained for non-medical use, about 52 percent of 12th graders said they were given to them from a friend or relative; 34 percent bought them from a friend or relative; and 30 percent received a prescription for them; a negligible number of 12th graders reported obtaining them over the internet. Note that respondents were allowed to check multiple sources.
  • From 2008 to 2009, lifetime, past month, and daily use of smokeless tobacco increased among 10th graders.

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