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Study: Teen Drug Use Rises, Alcohol Use Falls

December 16, 2011 by  

Study: Teen Drug Use Rises, Alcohol Use Falls

A study by researchers at the University of Michigan finds that alcohol use among American teens is at a historic low, but the number of young people choosing to use drugs is at a 30-year high.

The number of young people using any illicit drugs, especially marijuana, has risen gradually over the past four years.

In 2011, 50 percent of high school seniors reported having tried an illicit drug at some time, 40 percent had used one or more drugs in the past 12 months, and 25 percent had used one or more drugs in the prior 30 days.

The figures are lower for younger teens, though still high: among 10th graders, 38 percent reported having tried an illicit drug, 31 percent used in the past 12 months, and 19 percent in the prior 30 days.

The report indicates that the number of high school students who say they used marijuana 20 or more times over the course of a month is also on the rise.

The report says that while marijuana use is on the rise, from 1991 to 2011 alcohol use among teens dropped sharply. The number of 8th graders reporting any use of alcohol in the prior 30 days has fallen by about half to 13 percent, among 10th graders by more than one-third to 27 percent and among 12th graders by about one-fourth to 40 percent.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • JB

    The “ONLY” use for drugs is to alter the mind ! ! ! !
    Everything else is just an excuse, alibi, or explanation – -
    Truth is, excess is the problem – - including food, drink, exercise, etc.

    • Robert Smith

      Let’s see….

      Alcohol is legal and use of that dropped.

      Pot is illegal and use of that and other drugs is on the rise.

      Conclusion: Legalize pot.

      Then they won’t have to go to a pusher and be enticed to addictive drugs that will hook them into a very sad life.

      We need to teach kids that the ABUSE of anything is bad, not simply the thing itself. You know, like guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

      Pot is minimaly, if at all, addictive though it can be bad if over used. Teach kids to be responsible with it. Don’t drive. Don’t be in a situation where unwanted sex can occur.

      Parents and society really should work together to teach kids the reality instead of simply being absolute.


  • James

    What’s interesting about this is the PICTURE.
    The MJ is full of SEEDS. The only people who sell seed-infested
    MJ are street dealers, and the product comes from Mexico.
    This is NOT the carefully grown, seedless, expensive MJ that is provided by medical MJ dispensaries.
    Too bad the anti-medical MJ crusaders don’t realize this.

    • Average Joe

      Those were my thoughts when I saw the photo. No self respecting smoker would ever load up a bowl with seeds…they taste bad, they pop (and burn your clothes,seats,sofas etc.) and you can’t very well plant them…. once burned….. ;) …Well at least the kids have found a better alternative drug than alcohol (not that I am advocating the use of any mind/mood altering substances for minors).

      • Robert Smith

        Posted: “you can’t very well plant them…. once burned….. ”

        That’s why one takes the seeds out before smoking it.


  • JimH

    Alcohol down, drug use up. Drug dealers don’t card like bartenders and liquor stores do.

  • jopa

    More teens are smoking reefer now and consuming less alcohol.Traffic deaths among this age group is at an all time low according to recent studies.One state that has declared an all out war on weed, and it is Kentucky with its whiskey and bourbon industry.If whiskey and bourbon sales were to decline it may put liver transplant doctors out of business,auto body shops would suffer and the makers of body bags and mops, to wipe up the blood off our highways would also suffer.According to JB the only drugs he ever bought were to alter his mind.That group of drugs is probably about one percent of the drugs out there today.

  • Mike W.

    I have two questions in regard to this study.
    (1) Where are the students getting the drugs?
    (2) Where are they getting the money to pay for the drugs?

  • jopa

    Mike W;Probably getting the drugs from your son and working at McDonalds.

  • Jay

    5 Favorite Prohibitionist Lies About Marijuana

    As 50% of Americans now support marijuana legalization, the prohibitionists are coming out in full force with hysterical propaganda to once again terrorize voters about cannabis.

    Lie #1) Marijuana’s not really medical. The government says so!

    [M]arijuana is a Schedule I drug… a high potential for abuse or dependency… no accepted medical value… unsafe to use, even under medical supervision. [M]arijuana has not passed the rigid scrutiny of medicine proposed by the FDA.

    The Truth

    National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA) puts the lifetime dependence rate on cannabis at 9%, same as caffeine. Alcohol has a 15% rate of abuse and Tobacco’s is 32%.

    One third of federal jurisdictions (16 states and DC) accept the medical value of cannabis.

    The federal government is supplying four Americans with this “unsafe” medicine with no medical supervision.

    Cannabis has been used medically for 5,000 without a single human death – far greater safety standard than an FDA that approved phen-fen and Vioxx.

    Lie #2) Doctors and scientists don’t approve of smoked medicine; they do approve of Marinol.

    Institute of Medicine and the American Medical Association acknowledged the lack of data to support the use of smoked marijuana for medicinal purposes.

    What is scientifically approved by the FDA and accepted by the medical community is a medicine called Marinol, a legal, widely prescribed drug currently in pill form containing synthetic THC, a main constituent in marijuana.

    The Truth

    The American Medical Association said, “smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.”

    Marinol is 100% synthetic THC (the psychoactive component) suspended in a sesame oil capsule. Cannabis flowers are around 8%-15% natural THC combined with CBD (a component that moderates psychoactivity) and other beneficial compounds.

    Explain to us how a cancer patient violently heaving from chemo is supposed to swallow a pill and keep it down? Then explain how doctors approve of all sorts of inhaled medications (think: asthma inhalers) and why inhaling cannabis vapors, not smoke, from a vaporizer would be any different?

    Lie #3) Marijuana smoke is much worse than cigarette smoke!

    [S]moked marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals, many of which are identical to the most harmful chemicals and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke. The fact is that a marijuana cigarette contains four times as much tar as a tobacco cigarette.

    The Truth

    My pencil contains graphite and wood, which are identical to the graphite found in golf clubs and the wood found in golf tees. This does not make my pencil a golf club or golf tee. Water contains two flammable elements, hydrogen and oxygen. This does not make water flammable. Many recipes call for the same ingredients; it’s how you put them together that matters. Joints aren’t cigarettes, they’re far safer than that.

    Dr. Donald Tashkin went looking for that “marijuana causes cancer” connection and found quite the opposite, that cannabis smokers had lower incidence of head, neck, and lung cancer. We even have compelling evidence that cannabinoids may be instrumental in unlocking the cure for cancer.

    Very few tokers smoke 20 to 40 joints a day, but even if they did, where are these marijuana smokers with the tar-ravaged lungs filling up our hospitals? Again we have zero recorded deaths from cannabis smoking and over 400,000 annual deaths from tobacco use. Joints aren’t cigarettes.

    Lie #4) Marijuana is the gateway drug to cocaine, meth, and heroin!

    [L]egalizing marijuana leads to the use of more dangerous and harmful drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine…. [T]eens who smoke marijuana were found to be 85 times more likely to use cocaine than those teens who do not smoke marijuana.

    The Truth

    Teens who ride bicycles were found to be 85 times more likely to join an outlaw biker gang than teens who don’t ride bicycles*. So we should outlaw bicycles?

    Sure, cocaine users may have started first with pot, but they also probably started with alcohol before that.

    That same Institute of Medicine report Mr. Summerill referenced in Lie #2 said, “There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.”

    According to National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over 100 million American adults have tried cannabis. There are currently about 1.5 million monthly cocaine users, 430 thousand monthly meth users, and 192 thousand monthly heroin users.

    So for every 46 people who’ve tried pot, only one went on to be a monthly hard drug user. A gateway that only affects 2.1% of the people isn’t much of a gateway.

    Lie #5) Marijuana legalization leads to carnage on the highways!

    [M]arijuana use, including its use for medicinal purposes, is directly related to motor vehicle accidents and reckless driving, as cannabis affects psychomotor functioning.

    In a study of fatally injured drivers in Washington state, a state with legalized medical marijuana, about one every eight tested positive for marijuana.

    The Truth

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said of marijuana testing of drivers, “It is inadvisable to try and predict effects based on blood THC concentrations alone, and currently impossible to predict specific effects based on THC-COOH concentrations” because “[d]etection time is well past the window of intoxication and impairment.” Finding pot in some drivers’ systems following a crash just tells you some people smoke pot.

    From 2008-2009, fatal crashes in the states that had medical marijuana declined overall 9.34%. Only one medical marijuana state, Rhode Island, had an increase greater than 3%, which resulted in 18 more deaths.

    Four other states had 1%-3% increases, leading to 9 additional deaths. Of the remaining eight states that saw declines, half saw double-digit declines, including the laxest medical marijuana state, California, which had 353 fewer traffic fatalities.

    Legalizing marijuana does not legalize DUI. People who smoke pot and drive now are busted in all fifty states and legalization doesn’t change that.

    * OK, that one I just made up. But I’ll bet if you asked 100 Hells Angels bikers, nearly all of them rode a bicycle as a kid. I’ll bet a great majority of rapists have used pornography. I’ll bet nearly every anorexic has seen a skinny model on a magazine cover. But we don’t prohibit something most people handle responsibly because we think it might lead a few people to do something else irresponsibly.

  • TML

    “…finds that alcohol use among American teens is at a historic low, but the number of young people choosing to use drugs…”

    Uh… FYI… alcohol is a drug

  • jopa

    TML: UH… FYI Some people describe alcohol as a drug not all.I for one do and an occasional beer is my choice of drug.


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