1. chillinwill
    Cigarette smoking is out but pot use is in among the nation's teenagers, who also report a higher use of prescription painkillers and a waning perception about the risk of illicit drugs, a federal study on students has found.

    As more states move to approve medical marijuana, and pot legalization and decriminalization become more mainstream in the national discussion, teens seem more accepting of pot use, according to a study released Monday by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

    The national survey, "Monitoring the Future," was conducted by the University of Michigan and queried 47,097 students in the eighth, 10th and 12th grades.

    It found that one-fifth of seniors - 20.6 percent - reported using marijuana in the previous month, up from 18.3 percent in 2006. High school sophomores' pot smoking rose from 13.8 percent in 2008 to 15.9 percent this year, statistics that researchers said should capture the nation's attention.

    "So far, we have not seen any dramatic rise in marijuana use, but the upward trending of the past two or three years stands in stark contrast to the steady decline that preceded it for nearly a decade," said Lloyd Johnston, who serves as principal investigator on the Michigan study, which has tracked teen drug use since 1975.

    "Not only is use rising, but a key belief about the degree of risk associated with marijuana use has been in decline among young people even longer, and the degree to which teens disapprove of use of the drug has recently begun to decline," Mr. Johnston said. "Changes in these beliefs and attitudes are often very influential in driving changes in use."

    Judy Kreamer, president of Educating Voices Inc., a nonprofit drug-education and drug-prevention organization in Naperville, Ill., called the survey results "very disturbing" but said they come as no surprise given the messages that advocates have sent youths in recent years.

    "Today, if you watch television or listen to the radio, you cannot help but hear people laugh and tell jokes about marijuana," she said. "There is a lot of information out there that it's just a medicine and isn't as bad as alcohol. We have to straighten that misinformation out - for our children's sake.

    "I want people to understand that marijuana is a harmful drug, and we have to keep our children safe. It's our responsibility, and part of that requires that we educate ourselves about the harms associated with marijuana and that we then impart those concerns to our young people so that they understand."

    Among the study's bright spots: Methamphetamine use, binge drinking and cigarette smoking have declined.

    The number of eighth-graders who reported smoking within the past month dropped from 19.4 percent in 1997 to 6.5 percent this year. Twelfth-grader smoking also dipped, from 36.5 percent in 1997 to 20.1 percent in 2009, marking the "lowest point in the history of the survey on all measures," among all grades surveyed, researchers said.

    Cocaine use was also on the decline, with use among seniors falling from 4.4 percent in 2008 to 3.4 percent in 2009.

    Seniors also registered an attitude shift on the perceived harmfulness of hallucinogens such as LSD, along with amphetamines, sedatives/barbiturates and heroin, and there was a heightened perception that drug availability was declining.

    "These latest data confirm that we must redouble our efforts to implement a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to preventing and treating drug use," said Gil Kerlikowske, who heads the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

    "Continued erosion in youth attitudes and behavior toward substance abuse should give pause to all parents and policymakers," Mr. Kerlikowske said Monday as results from the study were released at the National Press Club in Washington.

    The University of Michigan researchers noted that the percentage of teens using any illicit drug is up in 2009 over the past two years, but that the proportion of the students who reported using any drug other than pot is declining for those in the eighth and 12th grades.

    The investigators said they remained concerned, however, that the perceived risk of using such drugs as Ecstasy, LSD and other inhalants has fallen, even as their reported use among teens has dropped.

    "Given the glamorous name and reputation of [Ecstasy], I could easily imagine it making a comeback as younger children entering their teens become increasingly unaware of its risks," Mr. Johnston said.

    "While LSD use is at historically low levels at present, the proportion of students seeing its use as dangerous has been in decline for a long time (although it did not decline further this year in two of the three grades), removing a major obstacle to experimentation. We have seen LSD make a comeback before. Clearly, it could happen again," he said.

    By Andrea Billups
    December 14, 2009
    The Washington Times


  1. masmith31593
    the fact that all these "experts" think the drugs mentioned in this article are more harmful than alcohol or that pot or lsd are harmful to a large extent just really grinds swim's gears.
  2. chillinwill
    Teen drug use survey seen as 'warning sign'

    'When beliefs soften, drug use worsens,' says Obama's drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, referring to a study that shows fewer teens believe use of marijuana, inhalants, LSD and Ecstasy is risky.
    The federal government's annual report of kids’ alcohol and drug abuse seems reassuring: Compared with earlier in the decade, use of hallucinogens was down in 2008, marijuana use was way down, and use of methamphetamines was way, way down.

    But the researchers and public officials who crunch those numbers warned that some of the statistics gleaned from an annual survey of 46,000 American eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders were worrisome.

    Though drug and alcohol use seems to be declining or holding steady, there has been slippage in teen disapproval of such practices and perception of the risks, officials warned.

    Take marijuana use, which had declined steadily among teens since the mid-1990s. This year, 19.4% of high school seniors said they had smoked marijuana at some point in the prior 30 days, as did 13.8% of 10th-graders and 5.8% of eighth-graders. The downward trend has stalled in the last two years, and kids' attitudes suggest a reversal may be ahead.

    In 1991, 58% of eighth-graders said they thought occasional marijuana use was harmful. By last year, that number had fallen to 48%, and this year, to 45%.

    In a Washington, D.C., news conference Monday, Gil Kerlikowske, the Obama administration's drug czar, called such numbers "a warning sign."

    "When beliefs soften, drug use worsens," said Kerlikowske, whose office is expected to release its first policy initiatives to combat and treat drug abuse in February.

    University of Michigan researcher Lloyd Johnston, who oversees the annual survey, said there was "serious softening" in the perceived risks of LSD, inhalants and the party drug Ecstasy -- a sign that "a new generation of kids are interested . . . in rediscovering these drugs, because they don't understand why they shouldn't be using them."

    Johnston also flagged a phenomenon the survey has recently begun to track -- "extreme binge drinking," or the consumption of more than 10 drinks on a single occasion. Coming on the heels of the weekend death of South Pasadena's Aydin Salek, an 18-year-old suspected of having succumbed to alcohol poisoning, the survey's findings suggest that such high-risk drinking is not unusual among older teens.

    Binge drinking, defined as consumption of five drinks or more in a row, has declined since peaking in 1983. But Johnston said there has been "not much decline" in numbers of extreme binge drinkers.

    Among high school seniors, 11% said they had drunk 10 drinks or more in a row in the two weeks prior to the survey; 6% said they'd had 15 or more.

    The survey also showed that U.S. adolescents continue to raid their parents' and friends' medicine chests. Use of prescription painkillers is at an all-time high: 10% of high-school seniors reported taking Vicodin for nonmedical reasons in the last year, and 5% reported taking OxyContin.

    Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which has commissioned the survey for 35 years, said at the news conference that teen use of prescription stimulant drugs is holding steady, with just over 7% of 10th- and 12th-graders reporting they had taken amphetamines -- drugs prescribed to many kids in treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder -- for nonmedical reasons. Volkow said that in many cases, teens take these drugs before tests or study sessions as "cognitive enhancers."

    Although fewer kids reported taking Ritalin, much of that decline was because kids had merely shifted to Adderall, a newer ADHD drug.

    The officials said that youths report some confidence that prescription drugs are less harmful than street drugs.

    In the survey's first accounting of where kids get drugs, it found that 66% who reported illicit drug use said they got the drugs from a friend or relative. Almost 19% said they got drugs with a doctor's prescription.

    By Melissa Healy
    December 15, 2009
    LA Times
  3. chillinwill
    Cannabis Prohibition Does Not Protect Youth; Lessons In Tobacco Policies

    Dear Wall Street Journal Editors

    The headline alone provides sufficient irony “Marijuana Use Rises Among Teens; Cigarettes Smoking Lowest Since ‘75,” in that the long-stated goal of the federal government’s so-called anti-drug bureaucrats has been to reduce the use of cannabis consumption in America. Billions of taxpayer dollars and 20 million cannabis-related arrests later, the social data continues to consistently demonstrate the government achieving one stated goal–the reduction of tobacco use–but not significant reductions in cannabis use among teens?

    What is the lesson here?

    That with tobacco, the world’s most death-inducing and addictive drug, verifiable and credible health information (along with progressive, teen-deterring, but not black market-inviting taxes imposed by local and federal governments) have a better chance of achieving the federal government’s stated and laudable goal of reduced teen use–not criminal sanctions and prohibition laws.

    Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director NORML/NORML Foundation

    WSJ:: Marijuana Use Rises Among Teens; Cigarette Smoking Lowest Since ‘75


    Marijuana use among teenagers increased this year after previous declines, while the use of other illicit drugs like cocaine mostly declined.

    According to an annual National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded survey of nearly 47,000 students, almost one-third of 12th-graders and more than one-quarter of 10th-graders reported using marijuana in 2009. Almost 12% of eighth-graders reported marijuana use, an increase from about 11% in 2008.

    The survey, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, asked teenagers to report on the use of smoking, alcohol use and drug use, including non-medical uses of prescription painkillers and over-the-counter cold and cough products.

    The report showed cigarette smoking was at the lowest point since the survey started in 1975, although the use of smokeless-tobacco products increased on some measures this year.

    Researchers say the percentage of students who reported ever trying cigarettes has fallen dramatically.

    Daily cigarette use by 12th-graders was 11.2%, a slight drop from 11.4% in 2008, while any use during the past 30 days was 20.1%, also a slight decline from 2008. Smokeless-tobacco use during the past 30 days in 2009 was reported by 8.4% of students in 12th grade, up from 6.5% in 2008.

    Researchers said one of the reasons smoking rates have declined is that the percentage of students who reported ever trying smoking has “fallen dramatically.” For example in 1996, 49% of eighth-graders reported trying cigarettes, compared with 20% this year.

    Alcohol use stayed about the same last year, with more than half of 10th-graders and about two-thirds of seniors reporting alcohol use in the past year.

    The survey showed past-year use of cocaine decreased to 3.4% from 4.4% in 2008 among 12th-graders, along with declines in the use of hallucinogens and methamphetamine.

    The use of over-the-counter cold and cough medicines to get high, however, edged up among all age groups, with 6% of 10th-graders reporting non-medical use of the products last year.

    The annual survey also found continuing high rates of prescription-drug abuse, with almost 10% of 12th-graders reporting non-medical use of the painkiller Vicodin last year, the same rate as 2008. Almost 5% of high-school seniors reported using OxyContin for a non-medical use in 2009, a slight uptick from 2008.

    Researchers said 66% of teens reported obtaining the prescription drugs from a friend or relative, while 19% said they received the drugs with a doctor’s prescription, and 8% said they bought the drugs from a dealer.

    By: Allen St. Pierre
    December 15, 2009
    NORML Blog
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!