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NIDA Notes Articles: Epidemiology

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In Nationwide Survey, More Students Use Marijuana, Fewer Use Other Drugs

April 2014

Almost one-third (32 percent) of the roughly 42,000 Monitoring the Future survey respondents reported having used marijuana during their lifetime. However, abuse of many other drugs—methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and some prescription medications—declined.

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Study Parses Comorbidity of Cannabis Use and Social Anxiety

October 2013

People with cannabis use disorder (CUD) are likely also to have social anxiety disorder (SAD), and comorbid SAD is associated with greater severity of cannabis-related problems. These findings highlight the importance of assessing CUD patients for SAD, as that disorder can be both a contributing cause and a consequence of CUD. Treating both disorders may be a key to helping patients recover from each.

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Problem Behaviors Can Signal Risk in Prescribing Opioids to Teens

July 2013

Researchers found that 1 in 8 high school seniors had used a prescription opioid nonmedically, and 70 percent of these teens had compounded the attendant risk by co-ingesting an opioid with one or more other drugs. Nonmedical opioid use was significantly more prevalent among whites than among African Americans or Hispanics.

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Adolescent Cigarette, Alcohol Use Declines as Marijuana Use Rises

February 2013

Fewer teens are using cigarettes, alcohol, and most illicit drugs, according to NIDA’s latest Monitoring the Future study. Troubling  trends persist in marijuana use, however, and nonmedical prescription drug use remains a concern.

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Adolescent Smoking and Drinking at Historic Lows

July 2012
Rates of adolescent cigarette smoking and alcohol drinking stood at historic lows in 2011, but marijuana use trended upward, according to the Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey.

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Prevention System Has Lasting Effects, Benefit Exceeds Costs

July 2012

Towns that implemented a drug abuse prevention program called Communities That Care will see a return of $5.30 for each $1 they invested during the 5-year trial of the intervention, according to a cost-benefit analysis. The estimate is based on reductions in smoking and delinquency observed during the fourth year of the study among eighth-graders and the projected total costs of smoking, delinquency, and crime avoided over the lifetimes of study participants.

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Elevated Rates of Drug Abuse Continue for Second Year

June 2012
Illicit drug use in the United States in 2010 was at its highest level since 2002, according to the most recent report from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. A rise in marijuana use drove the increase. A favorable trend of falling cocaine use continued.

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Tobacco Smokers Have High Probability of Transition to Dependence

April 2012
First-time smokers have a much higher chance of eventually becoming dependent than first-time users alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine.

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Nicotine Dependence Linked to Higher Rates of Mental Disorders Among Teens

March 2012
A study of teenagers in Chicago public schools finds higher rates of psychiatric disorders among those with more symptoms of nicotine dependence.

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Girls More Likely Than Boys to Use Ecstasy

November 2011
Lifetime ecstasy use is more prevalent among adolescent girls than among adolescent boys, according to an analysis of 2002–2008 data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

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