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Teen use of any illicit drug other than marijuana at new low, same true for alcohol

January 7, 2017

Teenagers in the United States are using drugs and alcohol at much lower rates, a new survey has found.

From the introduction: 

Teenagers'   use   of   drugs,   alcohol   and   tobacco   declined   significantly   in  2016   at   rates   that   are   at   their   lowest   since   the   1990s,   a   new   national   study   showed.  

 But   University   of   Michigan   researchers   cautioned   that   while   these   developments   are  "trending   in   the   right   direction,"   marijuana   use   still   remains   high   for   12th­ graders.    The   results   derive   from   the   annual   Monitoring   the   Future   study,   now   in   its   42nd   year.  About   45,000   students   in   some   380   public   and   private   secondary   schools   have   been  surveyed   each   year   in   this   national   study,   designed   and   conducted   by   research  scientists   at   U­M's   Institute   for   Social   Research   and   funded   by   the   National   Institute   on  Drug   Abuse.   Students   in   grades   8,   10   and   12   are   surveyed.    

Overall,   the   proportion   of   secondary   school   students   in   the   country   who   used   any   illicit  drug   in   the   prior   year   fell   significantly   between   2015   and   2016.   The   decline   in   narcotic  drugs   is   of   particular   importance,   the   researchers   say.   This   year's   improvements   were  particularly   concentrated   among   8th­   and   10th­ graders.    

Considerably   fewer   teens   reported   using   any   illicit   drug   other   than   marijuana   in   the   prior  12   months—5   percent,   10   percent   and   14   percent   in   grades   8,   10   and   12,  respectively—than   at   any   time   since   1991.  

These   rates   reflect   a   decline   of   about   one  percentage   point   in   each   grade   in   2016,   but   a   much   larger   decline   over   the   longer   term.     In   fact,   the   overall   percentage   of   teens   using   any   of   the   illicit   drugs   other   than   marijuana  has   been   in   a   gradual,   long­term   decline   since   the   last   half   of   the   1990s,   when   their  peak   rates   reached   13   percent,   18   percent   and   21   percent,   respectively.  

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