|2005 Monitoring the Future Survey Shows Continued Decline
in Drug Use by Students
Overall, the 2005 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey showed good news. While
there was no substantive change in any illicit drug use between 2004 and 2005,
analysis of the survey revealed an almost 19 percent decline in past month use
of any illicit drug by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders between 2001 and 2005. This
trend is driven largely by decreasing rates of marijuana use among these students.
For example, since 2001, past month use of marijuana has fallen by 28 percent
among 8th graders and by 23 percent among 10th graders.
Since 1975 the MTF survey has measured drug, alcohol, and cigarette use and
related attitudes among adolescent students nationwide. Survey participants report
their drug use behaviors across three time periods: lifetime, past year, and
past month. Overall, 49,347 students in the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades from 402
public and private schools participated in this year's survey. The survey is
funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), and conducted by the University of Michigan.
While the 2005 survey showed a continuing general decline in drug use, there
are continued high rates of non-medical use of prescription medications, especially
opioid painkillers. For example, in 2005, 9.5 percent of 12th graders reported
using Vicodin in the past year, and 5.5 percent of these students reported using
OxyContin in the past year. Long term trends show a significant increase in the
abuse of OxyContin from 2002 to 2005 among 12th graders. Also of concern is the
significant increase in the use of sedatives/barbiturates among 12th graders
"I'm pleased to see the decreased drug use noted in this survey; however, the
upward trend in prescription drug abuse is disturbing,” says NIH Director Dr.
Elias Zerhouni. “We need to ensure that young people understand the very real
risks of abusing any drug."
"While cigarette smoking is at lowest levels in the history of the survey and
overall drug use among teens and adolescents is continuing to decline, there
remain areas of concern with specific drugs of abuse such as prescription painkillers,” says
Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA),
National Institutes of Health. “Prescription drugs are very powerful medicines
that are effective when used properly and with a doctor's supervision. Using
these drugs without a prescription is dangerous. It’s imperative that teens get
Among the survey's findings were the following changes from 2004 to 2005:
- Lifetime use of cigarettes declined 2 percent among 8th graders; declined
1.7 percent among 10th graders; and declined 2.8 percent among 12th-graders;
- Past year use of alcohol was down 2.7 percent among 8th graders; down 1.5
percent among 10th graders; and down 2.1 percent among 12th graders;
- Lifetime use of methamphetamine fell 1.2 percent among 10th graders and fell
1.7 percent among 12th-graders;
- And past year use of steroids declined 1.1 percent among 12th-graders.
MTF is one of three major HHS-sponsored surveys that provide data on substance
use among youth. Its website is http://monitoringthefuture.org.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), sponsored by HHS' Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is the primary source of statistical
information on illicit drug use in the U.S. population 12 years of age and older.
Formerly known as the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, the survey collects
data in household interviews, currently using computer-assisted self-administration
for drug-related items. More information is available at http://www.drugabusestatistics.samhsa.gov.
The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), part of HHS' Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, is a school survey
that collects data from students in grades 9–12. The survey includes questions
on a wide variety of health-related risk behaviors, not simply drug abuse. More
information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dash/yrbs/index.htm.
More information on MTF can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/news or http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov.
Additional details are also available at http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/MTF.html.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes
of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports more
than 85 percent of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug abuse
and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to ensure
the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy
and practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and information
on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research
Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary Federal
agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical
research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common
and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.