Study Finds Decrease in Drug Use Among High School Students

Rates of use for every illicit drug besides marijuana declined in 2016.

A survey of high school students showed a decline in the use of illicit drugs over the last year.

The 2016 Monitoring the Future study showed the lowest rate of illicit drug use among eighth graders since 1991 and a continuing decline among 10th and 12th graders.

The study, funded each year by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, asked 45,472 students in those three grades about their use of marijuana, alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs.

In all three grades, use of every illicit drug besides marijuana dropped over the last year, according to

RELATED: Marijuana Problems at Ind. High School End with Student’s Arrest

The survey showed marijuana use among eighth graders dipped slightly while use rates remained steady among 10th and 12th graders. Nearly a quarter of high school seniors reported using marijuana in the past month, which is concerning because regular marijuana use is correlated with dropping out of school and addiction.

Still, Dr. Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said the results show some of the lowest use rates ever for substances like cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, inhalants and nicotine.

Though encouraging overall, Dr. Volkow pointed to the rising popularity of E-cigarettes and the increased use of marijuana in states where it’s legal as reasons the survey should raise some concerns.

Volkow says the results also make her want to investigate the effect of social media on addiction rates in teens.

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