Tag Archives: Monitoring the Future

Annual Survey Shows Marijuana Use Up Among Grades 8, 10, & 12

Monitoring the Future,* the nation’s annual survey of students, reported today marijuana use in 8th, 10th and 12th grades was higher than last year.  The survey also found that students in medical marijuana law states vaped marijuana at higher rates than students in other states, and consumed pot edibles (that can come in candies, sodas, or ice-creams) at double the rate than in non-medical marijuana law states. The survey does not include youth who drop out of school.

Misuse of prescription opioids continued its 10-year decline.  Virtually all other substances are at their lowest point in the history of the survey. The contrast is very significant, because many people think the overprescribing of opioids is the only reason our youth die of drug abuse.  They fail to reflect on the fact that early marijuana use is a predictor of other substance abuse.  Continue reading Annual Survey Shows Marijuana Use Up Among Grades 8, 10, & 12

NIDA Report Shows Use of Marijuana High, Feeding Future Drug Addiction

National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported today that drug abuse among teens is trending downward, except for marijuana.   The University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future Survey was completed for 2016.  It showed that six percent of high school seniors across the country are daily marijuana users.

Many of these young, habitual tokers, are potential addicts–if not yet addicted.  They may stick to marijuana which is extremely potent today–5x more potent than it was in 70s.  Or they may go onto other drugs, or slide into alcoholism as they turn the legal age to buy booze.  The six percent of seniors who are daily pot users is triple the rate of daily drinkers in 12th grade.  That figure is very troubling, and it is the same high rate from the previous year.

Teen abuse of other substances, including opioids and heroin, is down. However, adult substance abuse continues to rise astronomically.   The Centers for Disease Control released new statistics last week:  52,404 drug-related deaths in 2015, an 11% rise.  By comparison, 37,757 died in car crashes, an increase of 12%. Gun deaths, including homicides and suicides, totaled 36,252, a jump of 7%.     In 2014, there were 47,055 drug overdose deaths.  The rate of increase has risen rapidly in the last decade.

There’s the concern that these daily marijuana users will go onto other drugs, drugs that lead to overdose and are potentially lethal.    States with high rates of teen marijuana use in 2011 and 2012 ended up having the highest rates of opioid pill abuse two years later.  Here’s five reasons marijuana is a gateway drug.

Pain Pills, Cough Syrup and Other Drugs

The use of synthetic cannabinoids and ecstasy is lower, but still too high.  High school students are  using much fewer opioid pain pills.  Among 12th graders there’s been a 45 percent drop over the past five years. Only 2.9 percent of high school seniors reported past year misuse of the pain reliever Vicodin in 2016, compared to nearly 10 percent a decade ago.  The Drug Free American Foundation, CADCA and the pharmacies regularly sponsor “Take Back Your Drugs” days.  At these times, pain relievers from other family members are tossed out, with the hopes of preventing illicit use.

Fewer eighth graders are using marijuana, which is encouraging.   Parents Opposed to Pot believes it’s because new parent and community drug education efforts – since legalization — are discouraging early pot use.

One troubling note is that eighth graders had an increase in misuse of over-the-counter cough medicine.  This year, 2.6 percent of them have abused it, up from 1.6 percent in 2015.

Tobacco use and drinking are trending downward, but use of e-cigarettes has gone up.   Here’s the statistics.

Watering Down the Truth

by Randy Philbrick, Director, Smart Approaches to Marijuana – Oregon. In the information age you have to be careful what information you put out there. Anything you say can quickly be fact checked with a quick Google search. With that said, you may see pro-marijuana groups and journalists put out articles with stats that really make marijuana and legalization look pretty harmless.

When you look at the NORML or Marijuana Policy Project Facebook pages you will see things like “Teen use down despite legalization” or “Marijuana is the safest drug out there.” Then they will back up their claims with what looks like very good evidence, but is it really that good?

Let’s look at the “Teen use down despite legalization.” There have been several articles and Facebook posts claiming that teen use is down across the country and they will use the Monitoring the Future survey as their source. When you look at the Monitoring the Future survey it does in fact back up their claim that teen marijuana use is down on the national level. But then there was another survey that was released last fall just after that one from SAMHSA that tells a different story. In this survey they broke it down into a state by state look at teen marijuana use. The results of this survey reported past month use of Marijuana in the 12-17 year old demographic as well as last years results.

1. Colorado 12.56% Up from 11.16%
2. Vermont 11.40% Up from 11.34%
3. Rhode Island 10.64% Down from 12.95%
4. Wash DC 10.56% Up from 9.89%
5. OREGON 10.19% UP FROM 9.59%
6. Washington 10.06% Up from 9.81%

One commonality you see in the list above is that 4 of them have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but all of them have legalized “Medical” marijuana. In fact 22 out of the top 25 states are MMJ states. So what do you think is more damming for legalization, a nation survey or a state by state? I think the state by state is more damming and that’s why legalizers won’t use it.

It’s called watering down the truth.

Legalized Marijuana = + Crime in CO

Another example is “Crime in Colorado has gone down since legalization.” Well when you look at the crime stats for the whole state, yes it fits their claim. There has been a decrease in violent crimes in the past year. But when you look at Colorado you will notice that 55% of the states population is in the Denver Metro area. The rest of the state has a very low population density with some areas having a density of 1 person for every 100 miles. Many of those places are in areas that have opted out of marijuana. Now when you look at the crime rate in the Denver Metro area you will notice that crime has gone up with Homicide going up about 70% in one year.

But again, they have to water down their stats. When you look at the big picture instead of the watered down legalization picture then you start to see a clearer picture. That picture is that with lowered perception of harm and easy access to legalized marijuana use among teens will go up. They have to get the next generation of customers hooked or legalization is a waste of time.