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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 12/14/2010

Pot use among teenagers still rising, survey finds

By Rob Stein
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Marijuana use continues to increase among young people in the United States, according to an annual federally funded survey of drug, alcohol and cigarette use among U.S. youths.

The proportion of eighth-graders who say they smoke marijuana daily increased from 1 percent to 1.2 percent between 2009 and 2010, while the rate among 10th-graders went from 2.8 percent to 3.3 percent, and among high school seniors from 5.1 percent to 6.1 percent, according to the Monitoring the Future Survey, which questioned 46,482 students from 396 public and private schools.

Because cigarette smoking has been declining among high school seniors, marijuana is now more popular than cigarettes by some measures. In 2010, 21.4 percent of high school seniors had used marijuana in the past 30 days, while 19.2 percent had smoked cigarettes, according to the survey, which is conducted by the University of Michigan.

"These high rates of marijuana use during the teen and pre-teen years, when the brain continues to develop, places our young people at particular risk," said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in a statement. "Not only does marijuana affect learning, judgment, and motor skills, but research tells us that about one in six people who start using it as adolescents become addicted."

The perception that regular marijuana smoking is harmful decreased among 10th-graders from 59.5 percent to 57.2 percent and among 12th-graders from 52.4 percent to 46.8 percent in 2010.

"We should examine the extent to which the debate over medical marijuana and marijuana legalization for adults is affecting teens' perceptions of risk," Volkow said. "We must also find better ways to communicate to teens that marijuana use can harm their short-term performance as well as their long-term potential."

The use of the drug Ecstasy also increased, according to the survey, with 2.4 percent of eighth-graders and 4.7 percent of 10th-graders saying they had used the drug in the past year. That's up from 1.3 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.

Although abuse of the prescription drug Vicodin during the past four years decreased among high school seniors from 9.7 percent to 8 percent, the use of OxyContin, another prescription opiate, stayed about the same for 12th-graders at 5.1 percent.

In a bit of good news, binge drinking continued to drop. Among high school seniors, 23.2 percent reported having had five or more drinks in a row during the past two weeks, down from 25.2 percent in 2009 and a drop from the peak of 31.5 percent in 1998.

By Rob Stein  | December 14, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Alcohol and Drugs, Drug Abuse, Teens  
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Comments

My son was addicted to alcohol and marijuana as a teenager. He told me it was easier for him to get pot than alcohol because in order to get alcohol, someone somewhere had to be 21. He'd buy it at school. Alcohol was not available at school. I say legalize it and regulate and tax the hell out of it.

Posted by: jms10 | December 14, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The "drunk and disorderly" have now become the "stoned and disorderly". The lunatic-left, who admire the massive drug use of TheONE, considers that "progress".

Posted by: TeaPartyPatriot | December 14, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Pot is safer than booze. It also tastes better, has a better buzz, is much less addictive (if it's addictive at all) and it has only a mild hangover. It's always amused me that America's one legal drug of choice is the worst possible choice. I'm not saying kids should be getting high, but they are better off with pot if they do.
Someday the law will wise up.

Posted by: cduwel | December 14, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

From experience:

1) Marijuana is not addictive. One can take a month off from years of daily smoking with no ill effects.
2) Marijuana does not cause one to become disorderly, unless there is an underlying mental issue.
3) Marijuana only affects learning if smoked during learning. Most users do not light up in class. One could say the same about alcohol.

Posted by: CalmTruth | December 14, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

there's something wrong with these stats... it says teen potsmoking is on the increase, yet as i recollect, just a decade ago, it was standing at right at half of all high school seniors having smoked pot in the past month. bush drug czar bennet in 1991 stated that over half of teens had smoked pot. what gives here.

whatever, it is good news to know that kids still know propaganda is manure and go for their pursuits of happiness.

above i see a lady saying that her son was addicted to marijuana as a teenager? there is no such thing. i've used marijuana since i was 13 and am now 56. i've quit several times and it was never any trouble at all, no withdrawals or cold turkey whatsoever. cigs, alcohol, opiates not so easy. coca no problem to kick either but harder than pot.

the british society of medicine recently reported in the lancet journal that their in-depth study shows that alcohol is by very far the most dangerous and deadly, multiples the deaths of all illegal drugs combined. 4.8 million died in america from drunk drivers in the past century and 2.1 were murdered by those under the influence; plus some 60-70 million deaths related to the over-consumption of alcoholic beverages. deaths from overdoses on heroin and cocaine were barely 350,000 according to the NIH-NIDA reports. deaths from pot? are you kidding? what did they do, eat too much?

teen binge drinking is the rising concern.

Posted by: tazdelaney | December 14, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

in thinking more on this... yes, i was a hippie type, still am really. but when i think back on my school days, in my prep school, cherry lawn school of darien connecticut, there simply were no students nor many teachers who didn't smoke pot. indeed, virtually everyone there also did the fantastic LSD of that era, so hard to find today. we took a class 'trip' to see the grateful dead and owsley was tossing bags of his amazing LSD out to the audience and we were grabbing em up...

i'd love to see the whole of our visionless, stupid, warmongering, corporate-communist government and its military and intel all dosed with a LOT of acid. might start these scarecrows actually thinking for a change.

Posted by: tazdelaney | December 14, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Cigarettes and alcohol are legal. Pot is not. That's the problem. We can kill ourselves with cigarettes and booze, but god forbid you want to smoke pot, which won't make you belligerent, angry, or hungover.

Either legalize pot, or make all three illegal.

Posted by: tojo45 | December 14, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Wow, this is so cool man... Deep...

Posted by: Rich393 | December 14, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I still think that it is amazing that most conservatives (and many liberals) want to keep pot sales in the schools and keep drug dealers in business rather than legalizing and regulating. Most live under a rock thinking that they actually are stemming the flow of marijuana when actually they are promoting it, especially in schools.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | December 14, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Since legalization and regulation would make marijuana as hard as alcohol for teens to access,how does Kerli,Larry and Moe (Kerlikowaki,Holder and Obama) want to reduce the easy access teens now enjoy?
By doing more of the same that brought the situation about and put more people in jail and prison.
After a trillion dollars and 40 years of arresting people,to no avail,where is the promise by Obama to follow science and research instead of myths?

Posted by: claygooding | December 14, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Seniors should consider reducing their cigarette smoking due to the health risks. Also, cigarettes can cause more health problems for seniors.

Your Complete Source for Senior Care: http://www.GeriCareFinder.com

Posted by: GeriCareFinder | December 14, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

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