Survey Finds Marijuana Use on the Rise Among Teens

Nearly one in 10 teenagers are smoking marijuana at least 20 or more times a month, a new survey finds. The Associated Press reports that the survey, released Wednesday by The Partnership at Drugfree.org, found past-month use of marijuana rose from 19 percent in 2008, to 27 percent last year.

The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study found past-year use of marijuana rose from 31 percent in 2008, to 39 percent (six million teens) in 2011. The survey found lifetime use increased from 39 percent in 2008, to 47 percent (eight million teens) in 2011. The last time marijuana use was this widespread among teens was in 1998, when past month use of marijuana was at 27 percent.

“Parents are talking about cocaine and heroin, things that scare them,” Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org, told the AP. “Parents are not talking about prescription drugs and marijuana. They can’t wink and nod. They need to be stressing the message that this behavior is unhealthy.”

The survey suggests an association between teens who smoke marijuana more regularly and the use of other drugs. Adolescents who smoked 20 times or more a month were almost twice as likely, as those who smoked marijuana less often, to use Ecstasy, cocaine or crack.

The survey suggests teen marijuana use has become a normalized behavior. Only 26 percent agree with the statement, “In my school, most teens don’t smoke marijuana,” down from 37 percent in 2008. Also, 71 percent of teens say they have friends who use marijuana regularly, up from 64 percent in 2008.

According to the survey, 10 percent of teens said they used prescription pain medication in the past year, down from a peak of 15 percent in 2009, and 14 percent in 2010.

5 Responses to Survey Finds Marijuana Use on the Rise Among Teens

  1. Dwayne | May 3, 2012 at 6:33 am

    I can only prey that marijuana is the only thing my kids are doing.God help them if I find that they are doing other man made drugs.

  2. meltee | May 3, 2012 at 11:17 am

    These use rates are wildly different from the NSDUH rates. True, the Partnership survey may look at older teens, but the NSDUH rate for any use of marijuana in the past 30 days by 12-17 year olds was 6.7% in 2008 and was still at 6.7% in 2009.

  3. Etiene | May 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Meltee — need to understand the difference between daily, past month and lifetime. And, use current NSDUH data. They show 21% for high school seniors in the past 30 days — those are older teens.
    The exact quote from NSDUH:
    Daily marijuana use increased among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders from 2009 to 2010. Among 12th graders, use was at its highest point since the early 1980s, at 6.1 percent. This year, perceived risk of regular marijuana use also declined among 10th and 12th graders, suggesting future trends in use may continue upward. In addition, most measures of marijuana use increased among 8th graders between 2009 and 2010, paralleling softening attitudes for the last 2 years about the risk of marijuana. Marijuana use is now ahead of cigarette smoking on some measures; in 2010, 21.4 percent of high school seniors used marijuana in the past 30 days, while 19.2 percent smoked cigarettes.

  4. maxwood | May 3, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    “Consider the alternative”– if teenager cannabis use permits many to get past adolescence without developing nicotine addiction, think of the $billions which will be saved on future medical care, aside from escaping the moral effects of Tobackgo.

  5. Dan Luttrell | August 18, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Now Heroin is making the BIG come back. People need to do more in their communities to help kids have a place to go for help.

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