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Monitoring the Future 2013 Survey Results

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Text Description of Infographic

Top figure: Monitoring the Future is an annual survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th-graders conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, under a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health. Since 1975, the survey has measured drug, alcohol, and cigarette use and related attitudes in 12th-graders nationwide. Eighth and 10th graders were added to the survey in 1991. Overall, 41,675 students from 389 public and private schools participated in the 2013 survey.

Second figure: Last Two Decades of Alcohol, Cigarette, and Illicit Drug Use*
*Past 30 day use.
This graphic illustrates past 30 day alcohol, cigarette, and illicit drug use among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders from 1993 through 2013. In general, alcohol and cigarette use has decreased, and illicit drug use, which declined in the late 1990s and early 2000s, has been increasing in recent years. In 2013, past 30 day use in each category was:


12th graders: 39.2%
10th graders: 25.7%
8th graders: 10.2%


12th graders: 16.3%
10th graders: 9.1%
8th graders: 4.5%

Illicit Drugs

12th graders: 25.5%
10th graders: 19.4%
8th graders: 8.5%

Third figure (left): Marijuana: As Perceived Harm Drops, Use Goes Up
* Past-year use in 12th graders.

Three points in time are shown—1993, 2003, 2013— for marijuana use and the perception of risk (saw great risk in smoking marijuana occasionally) among 12th graders.


Using: 26.0%
Perception of risk: 72.5% saw great risk in smoking marijuana occasionally


Using: 34.9
Perception of risk: 54.9% saw great risk in smoking marijuana occasionally


Using: 36.4%
Perception of risk: 39.5% saw great risk in smoking marijuana occasionally

Third figure (right):
36.4% equates to about 11 students in the average class.

Fourth figure: 
60% of high school seniors do not view regular marijuana use as harmful, which is nearly double from 20 years ago. The potency of marijuana, as measured by THC content, has steadily increased over the last few years, which means that daily use of today’s marijuana may have greater health consequences than use of marijuana from 10 to 20 years ago.

Fifth figure: Prescription/Over-the-Counter vs. Illicit Drugs
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 percentage of 12th graders who have used the following drugs in the past year.

Adderall – 7.4%
Vicodin – 5.3%
Cold medicines - 5.0%
Tranquilizers – 4.6%
OxyContin – 3.6%
Ritalin - 2.3%

Illicit Drugs
Marijuana – 36.4%
K2/Spice: 7.9%
MDMA/Ecstasy: 4.0%
Salvia: 3.4%
Powder cocaine: 2.6%

Bottom figure: Abuse of Some Synthetic Drugs is Down.

These are substances that are chemically similar to and/or mimic the effects of illicit drugs. This year, 7.9% of high school seniors reported past-year use of K2/Spice (sometimes called synthetic marijuana), down from last year’s number of 11.3%. Past-year use of the substances called “bath salts” was low for all three grades - at or below 1%.

For more information, visit us @NIDAnews or DrugAbuse.gov.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found at www.drugabuse.gov.

This page was last updated January 2014