New, nationally projectable survey results released by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and MetLife Foundation found that past-month marijuana use, particularly heavy use, has increased significantly among U.S. high school students since 2008.
The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, sponsored by MetLife Foundation, found that 9 percent of teens (nearly 1.5 million) smoked marijuana heavily (at least 20 times) in the past month. Overall, past-month heavy marijuana use is up 80 percent among U.S. teens since 2008.
Concerning Trends in Teen Marijuana Use According to the New PATS Data (2008-2011): Past-month use is up 42 percent (up from 19 percent in 2008 to 27 percent in 2011, which translates to about 4 million teens).
Past-year use is up 26 percent (up from 31 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2011, which translates to about 6 million teens).
Lifetime use is up 21 percent (up from 39 percent in 2008 to 47 percent in 2011, which translates to nearly 8 million teens).
This marks an upward trend in teen marijuana use over the past three years. The last time marijuana use was this widespread among teens was in 1998 when past month use of marijuana was at 27 percent.
“These findings are deeply disturbing as the increases we’re seeing in heavy, regular marijuana use among high school students can spell real trouble for these teens later on,” said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org. “Heavy use of marijuana – particularly beginning in adolescence – brings the risk of serious problems and our data show it is linked to involvement with alcohol and other drugs as well. Kids who begin using drugs or alcohol as teenagers are more likely to struggle with substance use disorders when compared to those who start using after the teenage years.”Teen Marijuana Use Has Become a Normalized Behavior
Teens now report seeing more of their peers smoking marijuana and 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).
You can look at the full survey about teens and drug use at www.drugfree.org.