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Vol. LIX, No. 3
February9, 2007

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NIDA-Funded Teen Survey Shows Decrease in Illicit Drug Use

The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently released the results of the 2006 Monitoring the Future survey of 8th, 10th and 12th graders. The survey indicated that past-month use of illicit drugs among this audience has dropped 23.2 percent since 2001. By contrast, abuse of prescription opioids remains at unacceptably high levels.

NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow unveils results of the Monitoring the Future survey.
Federal officials address the media.

NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow unveils results of the Monitoring the Future survey.

Federal officials address the media.

“Past-year use of marijuana has fallen by 36 percent among 8th graders, 28 percent among 10th graders and 18 percent among 12th graders since the peak abuse years in the 1990s,” said NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow. “This is great news. However, past-year use of OxyContin has almost doubled among 8th graders since 2002 and Vicodin abuse remains stubbornly high among 12th graders. We know that the job is not yet done.”

The survey showed that past-month marijuana use for all three grades combined declined significantly from 2005 to 2006. However, the survey found some areas of significant concern, including that past-year use of Vicodin remained high among all three grades, with nearly one in 10 high school seniors using it in the past year. In addition, the rate of use of OxyContin among the youngest students has increased significantly since it was included in the survey in 2002. There is also concern about non-medical use of over-the-counter drugs. In the first national survey on non-medical use of cold or cough medicine, the data show that 4.2 percent of 8th graders, 5.3 percent of 10th graders and 6.9 percent of 12th graders reported taking cold or cough medicines with dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant) during the past year to get high.

Since 1975, the survey has measured drug, alcohol and cigarette use and related attitudes among adolescent students nationwide. Survey participants report their drug-use behaviors across three time periods: lifetime, past-year and past-month. Overall, 48,460 students from 410 public and private schools in the three grades participated in this year’s survey. The survey is funded by NIDA and has been conducted since its inception by investigators at the University of Michigan.

More information on the survey can be found at or on NIDA’s web site at NIH Record Icon

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