Dr. Wilson Compton on the 2017 MTF Results

Video length: 3:00


Dr. Compton speaking: Monitoring the Future study shows some very concerning data and when it comes to vaping. That's use of these electronic devices for administration of tobacco products and other substances. For instance, the 12th graders, more than a quarter report that they're using vaping devices to use nicotine, to use flavorings, or even to use marijuana. So about 27.8 % of the twelfth graders in the Monitoring the Future study report use of vaping devices for one substance or another, and even in the eighth grade it's 13 % that's more than one in ten eighth graders are using these vaping devices for nicotine products or for other substances like marijuana. The big concern about vaping is both because of the exposure to nicotine and other psychoactive substances in a developing brain, as well as the concern that once a kid starts out with a vaping product they may switch to the smoked combustible form. you see some concerning data when it comes to binge drinking. My sense of this is that we need to pay attention to this in the long run so you need to be looking to see whether this represents a slight statistical change or does represent a significant increase, which of course, could be devastating. Monitoring the Future Study does have some concerning information about inhalant use we see a slight increase in inhalant use particularly among the youngest cohort that would be the eighth graders. So, when we see this we have to pay attention to what's going on in the long run. In the long run inhalants have not been going up, but this one year showed a slight increase in so we'll have to follow that going forward. A concern in the Monitoring the Future Study has been about the changing attitudes towards marijuana. We see fewer and fewer kids think that marijuana can be dangerous or harmful and fewer and fewer kids disapprove of use. So, this is of course, concerning because when they don't think it's harmful, or if they don't disapprove it they may be more likely to use the substance themselves.

The good news is that the Monitoring the Future shows that overall use of prescription opioids and even heroin is at very low levels among the teens, but we still see a shocking and very disturbing number of overdoses by teens and young adults. That's because there can be reductions in the overall use that's infrequent rare sampling how people begin down that pathway but we still see unfortunately all too common heavy use of these substances by some teens. We also have to remember that Monitoring the Future does not sample homeless kids or kids that are not in school. So, the kids who may be most at risk for these very serious patterns of drug use, like injection drug use, like frequent use of the prescription medications, or heroin and other opioids may not be those who are in school at the time.