Teen Drug Use Rises as Alcohol Use Decreases

A recent survey of 47,000 teenagers in eighth, tenth and twelfth grades by researchers at the University of Michigan, highlights the changing trends in adolescent substance abuse, according to the Huffington Post. The results showed that one in every 15 seniors smokes pot on a regular basis and usually daily, which is the highest it has been since 1981.

One out of every nine seniors said in the last 12 months they have used synthetic marijuana also, which is also called K2 or Spice. Teens say they see this drug as less of a risk and that is why they are using it. Lloyd Johnston, the principal investigator on the study, says that when teenagers see a certain drug as more dangerous, they are less likely to try it. Johnston says this explains why marijuana usage is on the rise because teens feel it is less dangerous than other drugs.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has ordered an emergency ban on the five chemicals that are used to make synthetic marijuana. Several states have already banned these sales.

Gil Kerlikowske, with the White House, states that parents need to get involved to help stop this problem. He says it’s not part of parents’ vocabulary and they need to be knowledgeable and aware of this problem to begin conversations. Along with a decline in drinking, there is also a decrease in crack cocaine use, cocaine use and teen smoking. Of the seniors in high school, only 40 percent reported drinking in the past 30 days as compared with 54 percent 20 years ago.

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