Today, Acting Director Michael Botticelli joins Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse along with Dr. Lloyd Johnston and Dr. Richard Miech of the University of Michigan to announce the results of the 2014 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey. The survey, conducted earlier this year by scientists at the University of Michigan, tracks annual drug use and attitudes among 8th, 10th, and 12th-grade students.
There is good news in the data announced today, which reflect declines in youth drug and alcohol use across the board.
Cigarette and alcohol use--and prescription pain relievers misuse—have all declined since 2013. Marijuana use rates did not increase in 2014, and, among 10th graders, both past-year and daily marijuana use declined by 8 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Past year use of synthetic marijuana, dangerous drugs that have cut the potential of far too many young people, is now down among 12th graders from 11.4% in 2011 to 5.8% in 2014.Additionally, all measures of alcohol drinking (past-month, past-year, lifetime, daily, and 5 or more drinks in a row in the last 2 weeks) were significantly lower than 5 years ago, and all levels are at an all-time low since 1991.
The Obama administration remains steadfast in its commitment to reduce drug use and its consequences—and we know that the best way to reduce drug use is to prevent it from ever starting. We join our partners at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in encouraging parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors to have a conversation with a young person in their lives about making the healthy decisions that will keep them on a path toward a successful future. View valuable resources on starting the conversation here.
Monitoring the Future is one of three major survey instruments the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services uses to monitor the nation’s substance use patterns among teens. Information from these surveys informs strategic planning for prevention, treatment, and recovery support services for youth. The Monitoring the Future survey produces timely results, with findings announced the same year the data is collected.
It is troubling that approximately 10 percent of seniors report having driven a vehicle after smoking marijuana in the two weeks prior to their interview. That is a greater frequency than those who drove after drinking alcohol (7 percent).
Earlier this month, President Obama raised awareness about the risks of drugged driving when he designated December as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, and we urge parents, partners and prevention advocates to spread the word: drugged driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving.
To learn more about Monitoring the Future’s 2014 results, please read the press release, and join us at 1 p.m. EST for a Twitter chat with the National Institute on Drug Abuse to discuss the findings. Use the hashtag #MTF2014 to follow along and ask questions of the head of our research and data analysis office, Dr. Terry Zobeck.