NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow explains why we study teen drug use and shares a message to parents & teen influencers.
Video length: 2:03
[Dr. Nora Volkow speaking]
The Monitoring the Future focuses on teenagers, because drug experimentation starts in adolescence. And they are the ones that are most vulnerable to use drugs. And if they use drugs, they are the most vulnerable to have adverse consequences, including addiction. And the rate of use is the highest in twelfth graders.
While the rates of drug use, illicit drug use, and legal drugs in our country, other than for vaping appear to be the lowest they've been. Many of them since the inception of Monitoring the Future. The rates are still high, and actually higher than what we see in other countries. And we're also seeing trends that are very worrisome among the youngest.
And it is very important to discuss, actually, in a way that it is not critical to the teenager. But that creates trust. An open dialogue about the effects of drugs, without needing to exaggerate it is fundamental.
And also fundamental is for parents to be able to provide their teenage children different opportunities for feeling fulfilled. And this is particularly urgent amidst the COVID pandemic, when the isolation can actually result in anxiety and depression among teenagers. And the need to actually escape from those states can lead them to use drugs. So, providing the support that they need. Being sensitive to the challenges that they face is fundamental as a prevention the parents can do to protect their children from using drugs.