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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, 41,551 students from 377 public and private schools participated in the 2014 survey.
First 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 1994 through 2014. Alcohol and cigarette use have generally decreased over the last two decades. Illicit drug use declined in the early 2000s, increased in 2011, but has remained steady or decreased somewhat in more recent years.
In 2014, past 30 day use in each category was:
12th graders: 37.4%
10th graders: 23.5%
8th graders: 9.0%
12th graders: 13.6%
10th graders: 7.2%
8th graders: 4.0%
12th graders: 23.7%
10th graders: 18.5%
8th graders: 8.3%
Second figure: Teens are more likely to use e-cigarettes than cigarettes.
* Past month use
Only 14.2% of 12th graders view e-cigarette use as harmful, which is less than 5 students in the average class.
Third figure: Almost two-thirds (64%) of high school seniors do not view regular marijuana use as harmful compared to just over one-third (35%) 20 years ago. Marijuana use has remained relatively stable among high school students over the past few years. 56.7% of high school seniors say they disapprove of occasional marijuana smoking.
Forth 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 – 6.8%
Vicodin – 4.8%
Tranquilizers – 4.7%
Cold Medicines – 4.1%
OxyContin – 3.3%
Ritalin – 1.8%
Marijuana – 35.1%
K2/Spice (“synthetic marijuana”): 5.8%
Fifth figure: Cigarette smoking and binge drinking are down over the last decade.
The number of students who disapprove of regular smoking and binge drinking increased in 2014, and 8th and 10th graders report that cigarettes and alcohol are becoming harder to get.
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.