Cannabis Use Outpaces Smoking in US High School Seniors

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For the first time, more US high school seniors are smoking marijuana than tobacco, according to the results of a survey conducted by NIDA.
For the first time, more US high school seniors are smoking marijuana than tobacco, according to the results of a survey conducted by NIDA.

HealthDay News -- For the first time, more US high school seniors are smoking marijuana than tobacco, according to the results of a survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The new report included data for 44 892 students from 382 public and private schools in the United States. The survey measured drug use and attitudes among eighth, 10th and 12th graders.

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Among high school seniors, 38.6% said they used an illicit drug in the past year, with 15.2% saying they used an illicit drug other than marijuana. Belief that marijuana is risky continues to decline, with 31.9% of seniors saying it could be harmful, compared with 36.1% last year. Use of synthetic marijuana is at 5.2% among seniors, down from 11.4% in 2011. 

Use of heroin is at an all-time low at 0.3% for eighth graders and 0.5% for 10th and 12th graders. Use of MDMA (also known as Ecstasy or Molly) and LSD is generally stable or down. In 2015, 3.6% of seniors said they used MDMA, compared with 5% in 2014. 

Nonmedical use of Adderall remains high, at 7.5% among seniors. Use of prescription opioids continues to drop, with 4.4% of high school seniors using Vicodin, down from 10.5 percent in 2003.

Cigarette smoking has declined among teens. For example, tobacco use among 10th graders has dropped 54.9% in five years, going from 6.6% to 3% this year. Rates of other tobacco products and e-cigarettes, while not significantly changed from 2014, remain high, with 19.8% of 12th graders using hookahs, 16.2% using e-cigarettes, and 15.9% using little cigars. About twice as many boys as girls are using e-cigarettes, 21.5 versus 10.9%. 

Alcohol use continues to decline. About 17% of 12th graders report binge drinking, down from 19.4% last year.

Reference

Drug use trends remain stable or decline among teens. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). http://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2015/12/drug-use-trends-remain-stable-or-decline-among-teens. Accessed December 22, 2015.

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