December 14, 2010

Teens Using Marijuana More But Drinking Less

According to an annual government study of high-schoolers across the country, teenagers are using more marijuana and less alcohol.

The Monitoring the Future survey released by the National Institutes of Health said that about 6.1 percent of high-school seniors reported using marijuana this year, up from 5.2 percent in 2009.

Marijuana use by 10th-graders jumped up 2.8 percent to 3.3 percent, and for 8th-grade students it edged up from 1.0 percent to 1.2 percent.

"These high rates of marijuana use during the teen and preteen years, when the brain continues to develop, place our young people at particular risk," Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told The Associated Press.

Despite the growing use of marijuana, binge drinking is dropping.  While 23.2 percent of high school seniors reported having five or more drinks in a row, last year 25.2 percent admitted to the same amount of drinking.  The binge rate for this age group peaked at 31.5 percent in 1998.

The survey also found that the use of the drug ecstasy is starting to increase since its decline in use in the early 2000s.

There was a small increase in teens injecting heroin, but only among 12th-graders.

Cocaine use remained low after declining from levels in the 1980s and 1990s.

The University of Michigan conducted the survey, which covered 46,482 students in 396 schools.


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