Drug Abuse in U.S. High Schools
The Monitoring the Future survey and other studies reveal drug abuse trends among adolescents.
Since the 1980s, substance abuse among teenagers has been a growing concern. Not only did a number of community efforts sprout up around the nation, the U.S. government invested millions of dollars to spearhead drug education and prevention campaigns, including anti-drug TV spots with varying success.
Given how the media, including the internet and social media platforms, is such an influence on the developing adolescents, the risks of them being introduced to alcohol, cigarettes and other substances increase.
A National Centers on Addiction and Substance Abuse study revealed that 75% of student respondents admitted to seeing kids doing marijuana and drinking alcohol on social media and that a portion of them believed they were having fun.
In addition, kids may turn to drugs because of their home and social environments or because they were peer pressured.
The most recent MTF survey reported that while cigarette use has declined, more 8th-, 10th- and 12th-grade students had tried smoking marijuana. While binge drinkning remained a problem, general alcohol consumption by high school students continued to decrease.
MTF researchers added a section to the questionnaire in 2017 regarding the use of vaping devices. They noted that there were spikes in use in the types of substances vaped (flavors, nicotine, and marijuana).
The results seem to confirm trends noticed in other national surveys. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that student illicit drug use went down between 2007 and 2017.
In addition, an article published in Pediatrics reported that prescription opioid misuse by high school seniors decreased from 2013 to 2015.