After many years of rapidly increasing prescription drug abuse around the country, the most recent survey results from Monitoring The Future (MTF) show a decline in use among youth. Other substance abuse categories also saw decreasing numbers, though marijuana use remained steady. Despite the good news, experts caution that this is not a time to start relaxing efforts, as it is vital that education and prevention programs continue.
“The main highlight is that for most indicators the news is very good. We need to continue to very aggressive as far as interventions and to continue to curb abuse. We still have a lot of work to do and we can still bring those numbers realistically lower,” explained Dr. Nora Volkow, NIDA Director.
In the last few years, communities all over the country have gotten together to make a concentrated effort on preventing prescription drug abuse among children, ranging from general awareness campaigns to prescription drug take-back days, and many other things.
Unfortunately marijuana is still just as popular as ever. The survey indicates that that 21.2% of high school seniors have tried smoking marijuana, and about 6% are current or daily users. In states that have legalized marijuana, almost half of twelfth graders that have tried marijuana have ingested it in some sort of food item, that number is double than in states that have not legalized marijuana.
While drug abuse among teenagers appears to be declining overall, people must be aware of the ever-changing drug climate. As more marijuana edibles appear on the market as well as a growing list of synthetic drugs, education and prevention efforts have to stay on top of the trends to continue to be effective.