Report: marijuana, prescription drug use up among teens

From The Christian Science Monitor:

A national study widely considered to be an important indicator of youth drug abuse showed progress with some drugs but widespread problems with marijuana and prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

The study, compiled by the University of Michigan for the federal National Institute on Drug Abuse, found that 7 of the 10 drugs most abused by high school seniors are prescription or over-the-counter drugs acquired primarily from teens’ friends or relatives.

The study, released Monday, focuses on eighth-, 10th-, and 12th-graders. Within that group, use-rates for some substances have improved – notably hallucinogens and cocaine by 12th graders and methamphetamines among eighth graders. Cigarette use, too, continued to drop significantly. In 1997, 36.5 percent of 12th-graders said they'd smoked a cigarette during the past month. This year, 20.1 percent said they had.

But use of inhalants by 10th-graders increased, and use of marijuana across all three grade-levels increased. The study attributed the rise, at least in part, to the growing acceptance of marijuana use for medicinal purposes. That trend has made the drug appear less dangerous to teens, the study said.

Posted: 12/15/2009 3:45:00 PM

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