New survey results put out by anti-drug lobbyists formerly known as the Partnership for a Drug Free America, now calling themselves, “The Partnership at Drugfree.org”, says that teen marijuana use has risen sharply over the last few years. The nonprofit group is best known for their 1980’s and 1990’s “this is your brain on drugs” ad campaign aimed to curb teen drug use.
They released the survey today that said 1 in 10 teens said that they smoke marijuana regularly. This is an 80 percent rise in past month reported use among teens since the last survey the organization put out in 2008. The Partnership at Drugfree.org along with the MetLife foundation says that during the same time frame, prescription drug abuse has dropped slightly, but still remains high.
They obtained the results after polling by anonymous questionnaires, 3,322 teenagers in grades 9 through 12. The teens were polled at schools from March to June of 2011. The current partnership president, Steve Pasierb blames the increase partly on the mindset of parents that a little weed or a few prescription pills isn’t a big deal. He said that parents are scared about cocaine and heroin and those are the drugs they warn their children about. He said the groups survey has shown that use of those harder drugs among teens has stabilized in recent years.
The percentage of teens that smoke marijuana at least once in the last month rose from 19 percent in 2008 to 27 percent in 2011. The percentage of regular users, those that used marijuana at least 20 times in the last month went from 5% in 2008 to 9 percent last year, an estimate of 1.5 million teens toking up, according to the Partnership. They say that teens who smoke 20 or more times a month are more likely to have substance abuse problems later in life. They also report that kids in that heavy user group of more than 20 times a month are also twice as likely to use ecstasy, cocaine or crack.
Other findings in the report include 1 in 10 teens report using prescription painkillers – Vicodin or OxyContin – in the past year, down from a peak of 15 percent in 2009 and 14 percent in 2010. Just over half of Hispanic teens report using an illicit drug, such as Ecstasy or cocaine, in the past year. That compares to 39 percent for Caucasian teens and 42 percent for African American teens. Past-year alcohol use and past-month drinking is holding steady from the 2008 report at 56 percent and 38 percent respectively.