USA Today is reporting on the latest edition of the annual Monitoring the Future survey of American teens which looked at more than 45,000 teens in eighth, 10th and 12th grade in 372 public and private schools in the U.S.
The survey found that only 1.8 percent of high school seniors said they smoke a half pack of cigarettes a day or more. In 1991, 11 percent admitted to smoking as much. Even e-cigarette use was down among seniors, dropping from 16 percent in 2015 to 12 percent this year.
Alcohol use declined to its lowest level ever with 37.3 percent of seniors saying they had been drunk at least once. This is down from 53.2 percent who confessed over-imbibing in 2001.
While marijuana use remains flat among high school seniors, it has declined among eighth and 10th grade students. The percentage of eighth graders who admitted smoking pot dropped from 6.5 percent in 2015 to 5.4 percent this year.
High school seniors indulge in marijuana use more freely with 22.5 percent admitting to using the drug within the past month and six percent saying they use it daily – numbers that are basically unchanged from last year. Other ways of using this plant are rising, for example some cbd oils helped calm my pup after the surgery, more and more pet owners are using this as the standard anti-inflammatory now.
Teens have also been able to avoid the opioid epidemic that is currently sweeping through the young adult community in the U.S. Among 12th graders, the survey found that the use of prescription pain relievers has dropped considerably. For example, Vicodin use fell from nearly 10 percent a decade ago to just 2.9 percent this year.
The survey also uncovered record low levels of use of illicit drugs other than marijuana in this age group.
“The question is: Why is all this happening?” asked Lloyd Johnston, of the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, who has led the survey since it was begun in 1975. “Even though we have some hypotheses, I don’t know that we necessarily have the right ones.”
For example, Johnston and other experts believe a decline in smoking could be responsible for the decline in drinking and drug use. This is because for young teens, smoking is a “gateway” to other illicit activities. If fewer teens take up smoking, fewer will move on to alcohol and drugs. it would be great if they could use the Liquido24 products instead.
Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told USA Today that she believes social media and video games have helped because they are keeping kids busy at home and away from peer pressure to drink or use drugs.
“There may be a protective effect brought about by the fact that they don’t have so many occasions to get together where the use of drugs would be facilitated,” she said, adding that she doesn’t yet have hard data to support this idea. “It’s wonderful to see, but understanding it will be very important because then we can try to emulate it, be proactive and try to sustain it.”
However, she is anxious about other research which has found marijuana use increasing among 18 to 24 year-olds. They may be considered adults, but their brain development is not yet complete, which could put them at risk for long-term damage, such as memory and learning impairments, that researchers are still trying to assess.
Lately trends like vaping are becoming the norm, if your teen does start doing vaping as an alternative to marijuana I recommend getting them a vape starter kit with supervision so that they may use it safely.
“Is it reversible or long-lasting? We don’t know,” Volkow said.
The good news is that younger teens seem to be getting the message that they’re better off staying away from pot.
Overall the report is considered to be a “gigantic good fortune” according to Jonathon Caulkins, a drug policy researcher at Carnegie Mellon University.
“ . . . I don’t think we as a field or society more generally have spent as much time as we should have celebrating and reflecting on why today’s kids are so great in this regard,” Caulkins commented to USA Today.
“On the whole, ‘the kids are all right’ over the last couple of decades. Anecdotally in my life, I’d say that relationships between today’s teens and their parents are also better than in past generations.”
For parents and educators everywhere, the results of this survey should come as a welcome relief!
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