The University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Study (MTF), an annual survey tracking teen drug abuse among 40,000 8th-, 10th,- and 12th- graders, shows some positive inroads and encouraging news in substance abuse among American youth.Use of several illicit drugs – including MDMA (known as Ecstasy or Molly), heroin, amphetamines and synthetic marijuana – showed a noted decline in this year’s data. The MTF study also noted that teen use of both alcohol and cigarettes reached their lowest points since the study began in 1975. Marijuana use among our nation’s youth remained stable; though teens’ perception of risk associated with marijuana use continue to soften.
Teen Misuse and Abuse of Rx Medicines Declines, But Still at Nationally High Levels
MTF also found that misuse and abuse of prescription (Rx) drugs among 12th graders has shown a gradual decline since 2005, when annual prevalence was at 17 percent. This year’s data included a non-statistically significant further decline in 2015 from 14 percent to 13 percent among high school seniors in the U.S. That means that more than 1 in 10 high school seniors has abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime. (In the MTF study, prescription drug abuse is measured with an index that includes use of narcotics, sedatives, tranquilizers and/or amphetamines without medical supervision and only 12th graders report on their use of all of these drugs).
However, while unchanged since last year, non-medical use of the Rx stimulant Adderall remains high. MTF found that 7.5 percent of 12th graders and 5.2 percent of 10th graders reported non-medical use of this medication.
– Partnership for Drug-Free Kids