Teen Drug Use
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PDF version here: Home Health Testing Teen Drug Use Infographic PDF
Drug Use in Today's Classroom Infographic
The data used to create this infographic is from the 2010 study compiled by Monitoring the Future.
Monitoring the Future is an ongoing study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students, college students, and young adults. Each year, a total of approximately 50,000 8th, 10th and 12th grade students are surveyed (12th graders since 1975, and 8th and 10th graders since 1991). In addition, annual follow-up questionnaires are mailed to a sample of each graduating class for a number of years after their initial participation. The Monitoring the Future Study has been funded under a series of investigator-initiated competing research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a part of the National Institutes of Health. MTF is conducted at the Survey Research Center in the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.
To learn more about testing for some of the major drugs highlighted in this infographic, please visit our urine drug test page.
Surprising Teen Drug Use facts from the 2010 Monitoring the Future study:
Out of 32 students in a 12th grade classroom:
- 8 of 32 have used an illicit drug in the past 30 days
- 12 of 32 have used an illicit drug in the past year
- 15 of 32 have tried an illicit drug at least once in their lifetime
For the first time since 1981, more 12th graders consumed marijuana than cigarettes in the past month.
21.4% of 12th graders consumed marijuana in the past month - that is more than 1 out of 5 high school seniors used marijuana in the last month
19.2% of 12th graders consumed cigarettes in the past month
1 in 16 high school seniors smoke pot daily or near daily
While 34.8% of high school seniors answered that they had smoked marijuana in the past year, 82.1% answered that they thought it was "fairly or very easy to get"
While 27.5% of 10th graders answered that they had smoked marijuana in the past year, 69.4% answered that they thought it was "fairly or very easy to get"
For 8th graders, 13.7% answered that they had smoked marijuana in the past year, 41.4% answered that they thought it was "fairly or very easy to get"
After marijuana, prescription and over-the-counter medications account for most of the top drugs abused by 12th graders in the past year. This list shows the % of 12th graders who have used the following the the last year:
- Vicodin 8%
- Cold Medicines 6.6%
- Adderall 6.5%
- Tranquilizers 5.6%
- OxyContin 5.1%
- Sedatives/Barbiturates 4.8%
- Ritalin 2.7%
- Methaqualone/Quaaludes .3%
In fact, prescription drugs are being abused at a much higher rate than many common street drugs. This list shows the % of 12th graders who have used the following the the last year:
- Non-crack Cocaine 2.6%
- Crack 1.4%
- Methamphetamine 1%
- Heroin .9%
In the 2010 survey, ecstasy provided one of the most recent surges in the use of an illicit drug. Use rose in all grades, significantly so in 8th and 10th...and perceived risk has been falling steadily since 2005.
It's not only illegal drugs - inhalant use is also significant. Inhalants include items like glue, nail polish remover, gasoline, solvents, butane and propellants used in certain commercial products such as whipped cream dispensers. 8th graders use more than most grades at 8.1%.
Teen steroid use - 2.5% of high school senior males use steroids. According to the study, "The steroid problem among teens has diminished considerably over the past 10 years or so.
Recently headline maker Salvia has made some inroads - 5.5% of seniors have used it during the past 12 months, as did 3.7% of 10th graders and 1.7% of 8th graders.