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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Survey Finds Increase in Teen Drug Use

As cigarette smoking and binge drinking continues to drop among teenagers, marijuana use continues to rise. The country continues to become more relaxed about the harms associated with marijuana use; it makes sense that teenagers would begin to believe that marijuana is less harmful. Marijuana may not be as hard on the human body and mind as other drugs, but, it still has adverse effects with problems ranging from memory loss to lung disorders. Just because an illegal drug has been deemed medically effective does not mean that it is not harmful.

According to the Monitoring the Future Survey, which questioned 46,482 students from 396 public and private schools, between 2009 and 2010:
  • Eighth-graders who said they smoke marijuana daily increased from 1 percent to 1.2 percent
  • 10th-graders went from 2.8 percent to 3.3 percent
  • High school seniors from 5.1 percent to 6.1 percent
According to a survey conducted by the University of Michigan regarding cigarette use compared to marijuana in 2010:
  • 21.4 percent of high school seniors had used marijuana in the past 30 days
  • 19.2 percent had smoked cigarettes
"We should examine the extent to which the debate over medical marijuana and marijuana legalization for adults is affecting teens' perceptions of risk," Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in a statement.
Teens that believe that regular marijuana smoking is bad for you decreased among:
  • 10th-graders from 59.5 percent to 57.2 percent in 2010
  • 12th-graders from 52.4 percent to 46.8 percent
The upside of all these statistics is in the realm of binge drinking among teens:
  • 23.2 percent reported having had five or more drinks consecutively during the past two weeks
  • Down from 25.2 percent in 2009
  • Down from the peak of 31.5 percent in 1998
We need be sure that we reinforce to the youth that every drug or drink has an adverse effect on the human body. While some are definitely worse than others, they all have a downside and left unchecked may become a problem in a number of ways.

The Washington Post

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