Survey: Teen pot use rises, alcohol use declines - WNEM TV 5

Survey: Teen pot use rises, alcohol use declines

Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A new national survey shows more teens are using pot and see it as less of a risk, while alcohol use among that age group has dropped to historic lows.

The findings released Wednesday were based on an annual survey of 47,000 eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders conducted by the University of Michigan for the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

1 of every 15 high school seniors reported smoking pot on a daily or near daily basis, the highest rate since 1981. Researchers also noted 1 of every nine high school seniors reported using synthetic marijuana within the previous 12 months.

"Put another way, one in every fifteen high school seniors today is smoking pot on a daily or near daily basis," said Lloyd Johnston, the principal investigator of the study, "And that's the highest rate that we have seen over the past thirty years—since 1981."

Researchers say use of a particular drug drops when teens consider it dangerous. The percentage of teens who see "great risk" in using marijuana generally has dropped in recent years.

Synthetic Marijuana:

Sometimes sold online, in head shops, convenience stores, or gasoline stations, synthetic marijuana is meant to mimic the effects of marijuana (cannabis), and it often contains synthetic cannabinoids that did not appear on the DEA's list of scheduled substances.

In February of 2011, however, the DEA used its temporary emergency powers to declare a number of the chemicals used in such products to be Schedule I drugs—unsafe, highly abused substances with no legitimate medical use—for at least a year.

In addition, at least 18 states have banned synthetic marijuana.

In 2011, 11.4% of high school seniors nationwide indicated using it in the prior 12 months; but they completed their questionnaires just shortly after the drugs were placed on the schedule of proscribed substances.


Annual prevalence rates for ecstasy in 2011 are 1.7%, 4,5%, and 5.3% in grades 8, 10, and 12, respectively; these rates reflect an increase in 12th grade of 0.9 percentage points, no real change in 10th grade, and a small but significant decline in 8th grade (0.7%).

Use in all three grades is above the recent low points by 33%, 85%, and 77%, respectively, suggesting that a rebound seen in recent years is primarily among the older teens at this point.

This rebound followed a period in which perceived risk (defined as the proportion of teens that see great risk to the user from using ecstasy) declined some in all three grades, as did disapproval.

Energy drinks:

Energy drinks (such as Red Bull, Monster, and Reload) are sold legally and advertised to boost energy.  They contain stimulants, usually caffeine, and sometimes other stimulants, as well as sugar.

In 2011 in answer to the question, "About how many [energy drinks] do you drink per day on average?"

The proportions indicating any recent use were 35% of 8th graders and 29% of both 10th and 12th graders. Use of one or more drinks per day was 18%, 11%, and 10% for 8th, 10th and 12th grades. These rates are down some from 2010 in all three grades, so it appears that use is no longer growing.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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