Rates of drug use among teenagers have decreased for most drugs, the 2012 Monitoring the Future* (MTF) survey found. The survey also revealed an alarming decline in the perceived risks of substance abuse, which can lead to future increases in use.
Despite some increases in drug use over the past several years, rates of drug use among young people today are far lower than they were in the late 1970s. This year’s MTF survey also shows several declines between 2011 and 2012, and rates for some of these drugs in some grades are at their lowest levels since the 1990s.
Aggressive prevention efforts and effective treatment programs have been essential in the reduction of drug use among youth but this weakening of attitudes demonstrates the continued need for education, prevention and guidance toward effective treatment. Adult influencers, such as parents, doctors and coaches, and institutions such as treatment programs and schools, have a critical role to play in helping young people understand the dangers of drug use and encouraging them to make healthy decisions.
* The Monitoring the Future (MTF) study is an annual survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in the United States. The study is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse with a grant to the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. Visit the MTF website to see the full survey result or download a fact sheet from the Office of National Drug Control Policy here(pdf).