Survey Says: Use of cigarettes and alcohol is down among teens but daily marijuana use is up among 8th graders and and vaping is accelerating rapidly among 10th and 12th graders.
The Monitoring the Future Survey is conducted by the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and funded by a grant from National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.
Survey findings reflect steady rates of past-year illicit drug use (excluding opioids) among high school seniors with 38% reporting any illicit drug use. When marijuana use is backed out, use of other illicit drugs fell to 11.5%. In other results, past year use of cocaine was reported by 0.7% of 8th graders, 1.5% of 10th graders and 2.2% of 12th graders. While use of cocaine has remained low, there has been a gradual decline in the proportion of 12th graders that perceive great risk from trying cocaine once or twice; from 54.4% in 2013 to 48.0% in 2019.
The survey found that past month, year, and lifetime marijuana use remained fairly steady across age groups although the gap between percentage of 10th and 12th graders reporting use is narrower than that between 8th and 10th graders.
Daily marijuana use-defined as use on 20 or more occasions in the past 30 days-increased in 2019 among students in 8th and 10th grade. The values for 2018 and 2019 shown above reflect an increase in daily use of 85.7% among 8th graders and 41.2% among 10th graders. The percentage of teens who think that regular use of marijuana is risky has been trending down since the mid-2000s.
Prescription opioid misuse continued a signficant decline in 2019. Past year use of Vicodin declined from 3.4% in 2014 to 1.1% in 2019 among 10th graders and from 4.8% to 1.1% in the same period among 12th graders. Oxycontin use was reported by 1.7% of 12th graders in 2019, a nearly 50% drop vs 3.3% in 2014. Rates of prescription opioid misuse are now at their lowest levels since they were first recorded by the survey.
Adderall miuse has changed significantly over the 5 years since the 2014 MTF survey with rates declining among 10th and 12th graders but increasing among the youngest teens.
Cigarette smoking continued a downward trend and significantly fell among 12th graders reporting past month use, daily use, or consumption of one-half pack or more per day. Significant 5-year declines in cigarette smoking were reported by all grades and across all prevalence periods, including lifetime use. Daily vaping of nicotine-containing products, however, is troubling, particularly among 10th and 12th graders. Past month nicotine vaping has increased annually and more than doubled from 2017 to 2019 in all grades. This year, 9.6, 19.9 and 25.5 percent of respective 8th, 10th, and 12th graders reported vaping nicotine in the past month.
The percent of high school teens reporting lifetime alcohol use declined significantly compared to peak years and lifetime, past year, and past month alcohol use and binge drinking continued to show significant five-year declines in 10th and 12th graders.
The annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) Survey has since 1975 quantified how US teens in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades report drug, alcohol, and cigarette use. In 2014 the survey incorporated questions on vaping devices and in subsequent years on specific vaping habits and substances used.The 2019 survey polled >42 500 students form nearly 400 public and private schools across the US.The following short slide show highlights key findings for 2019, including declines in cigarette and binge alcohol use and in prescription opioid misuse among teens; results also reveal a continued and troubling increase in teenage vaping and a rise in daily marijuana use among the youngest students.