NIDA's Dr. Wilson Compton on 2018 Monitoring the Future Survey

Video length: 2:20


Dr. Wilson Compton speaking: When it comes to the good news, we see drug use rates dropping across many categories among teens.

For instance, cigarette use is down to historically low levels among teens.

Alcohol continues to drop among teens, even binge drinking of alcohol has been dropping.  

We see improvements across a large number of drug categories.

In terms of the good results, I'd highlight for you some of the improvements when it comes to opioids.

Many fewer teenagers are misusing opioid prescription pills than in previous years, that, of course, is terrific news.

Now some of the exceptions are that marijuana remains stubbornly stable.

So, we see unfortunately high rates of even daily marijuana smoking among teens.

We also see increases that are quite dramatic and unfortunate in vaping of tobacco products.

So, that really has many of us concerned because of the potential transition from vaping to smoking cigarettes -where we know the health harms in the long run are so significant.

Many kids are telling us that they're just using flavorings when they use a vaping device, but in fact, they may not know what's in those.

There's other research that suggests that many teens are unaware of what's in the vaping device and may be inadvertently exposing themselves to nicotine, which is an extremely habit-forming and addictive substance.

The number of youths using marijuana on a daily basis has been about the same for the last 10 to 15 years.

So about 5.8 percent of high school seniors are using marijuana on a nearly daily basis, that means they're not able to learn appropriately as school, their memory may not be working as well as it could and that's really a concern for their long-term outcomes.

What we're seeing is that there are more ways to use marijuana, of course, smoking marijuana remains the most common route of administration - but a surprising number of kids will use their vaping devices to administer marijuana, or they'll eat it, or they'll use it in other forms... whether that's the waxes and oils that sometimes have a very high potency of THC.