NIDA-Sponsored Survey Shows Decrease in Illicit Drug Use among Nation's Teens, but Prescription Drug Abuse Remains High
There's good news to be found in a survey of 8th, 10th and 12th graders. The survey, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse finds that youngsters at these grade levels report a 23.2 percent decrease in their past month use of illicit drugs since 2001.
Schmalfeldt: There's good news to be found in a survey of 8th, 10th and 12th graders. The survey, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse finds that youngsters at these grade levels report a 23.2 percent decrease in their past month use of illicit drugs since 2001. The 2006 Monitoring the Future survey indicates that such use among teens in these grades has dropped from 19.4 percent in 2001 to 14.9 percent in 2006. There was also good news about teen smoking — which is at an all time low for all three grades — as well as alcohol consumption which continues a downward trend. However, according to the survey, the abuse of prescription drugs remains at an unacceptably high level. Of significant concern is the finding that past-year use of Vicodin remained high in all three grades, with nearly one in ten high school seniors using it in the past year. Dr. Nora Volkow, NIDA director, explained why the abuse of prescription drugs remains high in the face of declines in the use of illicit drugs.
VOLKOW: I think it's a combination of factors, including the notion that — perception wise — there's been an increased awareness about the potential harmful effects of marijuana. There is the misguided notion that prescription medications — because they are prescribed by physicians — are not as risky as other drugs of abuse. So that leads many young people — and also adults — to take them with that false sense of safety because prescription medications, when abused, are as dangerous as other illegal substances.
Schmalfeldt: Since 1975, the Monitoring the Future survey has measured drug, alcohol and cigarette use and related attitudes among adolescent students nationwide. The survey has been conducted since its inception by investigators at the University of Michigan. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt in Bethesda, Maryland
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Bill Schmalfeldt
Sound Bite: Dr. Nora Volkow
Topic: Drug Abuse