The Good News
- Overall, the results are very positive - there has been an approximate 23% decline over the last five years in the past month use of any illicit drug by students in the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades combined (see figure).
- Cigarette smoking continues to fall to the lowest rate in the survey's history. And, between 2001 and 2006, declines were observed in daily cigarette use among 8th, 10th and 12th graders. These findings are particularly noteworthy since tobacco addiction is one of the leading preventable contributors to many of our Nation's health problems.
- Between 2001 and 2006, marijuana use within the past month declined by nearly 25% for 8th, 10th, and 12th graders combined. Lifetime, past month, and past year use of marijuana decreased among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders separately, and daily use decreased among 10th graders during the same time frame.
- Since 2001, lifetime, past year, and past month steroid use decreased among 8th and 10th graders; lifetime use of steroids also decreased among 12th graders.
- Lifetime, past year, and past month use of MDMA (Ecstasy) decreased among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders from 2001 to 2006 - by more than 50% on most measures.
- Methamphetamine abuse continues to decline - on all indicators for each grade since 2001; and past year and past month use declined among 10th graders between 2005 and 2006.
- Lifetime and past year use of alcohol modestly decreased among 12th graders, but remains prevalent.
Areas of Concern
- While past year OxyContin abuse was down among 12th grade students - from 5.5% in 2005 to 4.3% in 2006 - the rate nearly doubled among 8th graders between 2002 and 2006 - from 1.3% to 2.6%. Vicodin continues to be abused at unacceptably high levels - 9.7% for 12th graders, 7.0% for 10th graders, and 3.0% for 8th graders.
- A question on the non-medical use of over-the-counter cough or cold medicines was added to the survey in 2006, with nearly 7% of 12th graders reporting past year abuse of cough or cold medicines to get high.
- Although overall rates are stable, in 2006 8th graders, at 9.1%, continued to have a higher rate of past year use of inhalants compared to 10th and 12th graders, at 6.5% and 4.5% respectively. This is one of the few categories in which 8th graders report higher rates of abuse than 10th and 12th graders.
- Attitudes toward substance abuse, often seen as harbingers of change in abuse rates, were mostly stable. However, among 8th graders perceived risk of harm associated with MDMA decreased for the second year in a row, and disapproval of using MDMA also decreased this year. Attitudes about risk of harm and disapproval of using LSD also softened among 8th graders this year.