Monitoring the futures is a long-term study of American adolescents, college students and adults through age 55. It has been conducted annually by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research since its inception in 1975 and is supported under a series of investigator-initiated, competing research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The 2013 Monitoring the Future survey encompassed about 41,700 8th, 10th and 12th grade students in 389 secondary schools nationwide. The full report can be found at www.monitoringthefuture.org
Illicit Drugs Increasing in Use in 2013
Annual prevalence of using any illicit drug increased by all three grade. For the three grades combined, the rate was up by 1.3 percentage points in 2013.
These modest overall increased in the index of any illicit drug use are driven primarily by increases in marijuana use. Indeed, the index of using any illicit drug other than marijuana was fairly stable this year. Annual prevalence of marijuana was up in 8th and 10th grades, increasing by 1.2 and 1.8 percentage points respectively. In 12th grade, annual use of marijuana remained unchanged.
Of particular importance, perceived risk associated with marijuana use continued to decline sharply in all three grades – a decline that started around 2005. Disapproval also declined somewhat in 2013.
Illicit Drugs Declining in Use in 2013
Synthetic Marijuana use declined in 2013 by 3.4 percentage points among 12th graders, 1.3 percentage points among 10th graders, and by 0.4 percentage points among 8th graders. This reflects nearly a one-third decline in use at 12th grade in a single year.
Use of inhalants also declined in 2013. The sharpest decline occurred among 8th graders Annual prevalence also dropped in the 10th and 12th grades.
Vicodin use for nonmedical purposed significantly declined in use among 12th graders. However the lower grades showed virtually no change, though use has declined significantly in all grades since 2008.
Salvia Divinorum, an herb in the mint family with hallucinogenic effects, also showed declines in all three grades in 2013.
Illicit Drugs Holding Steady in 2013
The use of a number of drugs held steady in 2013. These include Cocaine (both powder and “crack” forms), LSD, Amphetamines, MDMA (lately marketed as “Molly”, a reputedly purer form of ecstasy), crack, methamphetamine, crystal methamphetamine, heroin, Rohypnol, Ketamine, steroids, and sedatives. Also holding steady was the nonmedical use of the prescription drugs Adderall, Ritalin, Oxycontin and the omnibus category any prescription drug taken without medical supervision.
Use of Bath Salts, a class of synthetic drugs that have mostly been sold over the counter, showed a slight increase in 8th and 10th grades and some decline in 12th grade. The perceived risk of bath salts rose very sharply in all three grades in 2013, and was highest in 12th grade where the decline in use occurred. Word seems to be reaching the teens about the dangers of synthetic drugs, which may well explain why bath salt use remained at quite low levels in all three grades and appeared to have fallen in 12th grade.
Ecstasy (MDMA) is of particular interest this year because of the advent of “Molly”, reputed to be a purer form of ecstasy. There has been a considerable mention of Molly in the media, but there has been no observable change in reported use of ecstasy. Nor was there any perceptible change in perceived risk, disapproval, or perceived availability of ecstasy.
Tobacco and Alcohol Use
Between 1996 and 2013, current smoking fell considerably in these grades. However, the decline in use had decelerated in recent years and in 2010 there was a suggestion of some increase in smoking rates among 8th and 10th graders. In 2011, and again in 2012 and 2013, use decreased among 8th and 10th graders. Overall increased in perceived risk and disapproval appear to have contributed to the downturn in cigarette use. Perceived risk increased substantially and steadily in all grades from 1995 through 2004. Disapproval of smoking has been rising steadily in all grades since 1996.
Smokeless tobacco remains the substance most widely used by today’s teenagers. Despite recent declining rates, seven out of every 10 students have consumed alcohol by the end of high school, and three out of ten have done so by 8th grade. In fact, about 52% of 12th graders and 12% of 8th graders in 2013 reported having been drunk at least once in their life.
Monitoring The Future, National Results on Drug Use, 2013 Overview Key Findings on Adolescent Drug Abuse, written by Lloyd D. Johnson, Patrick M. O’Malley, Richard A. Miech, Jerald G. Bachman, John E. Schulenberg University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research
Substance Abuse Treatment Trends
Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) is a nationwide compilation of data on the demographic and substance abuse characteristics of admissions to substance abuse treatment. TEDS data are reported to SAMHSA by State Substance Abuse Agencies.
TEDS reported that there were 403,756 admissions aged 18 to 25 to substance abuse treatment programs in 2011. TEDS indicates that, on an average day in 2011, young adult admissions to treatment reported the following substances as the primary substances of abuse.
· 364 reported that heroin or other opiates
· 308 reported marijuana
· 289 reported alcohol (74 aged 18 to 20 and 215 aged 21 to 25
· 65 reported stimulants
· 35 reported cocaine
· 32 reported other drugs.
TEDS indicates that, on an average day in 2011, young adult admissions to substance abuse treatment were referred principally by the following sources:
· 459 by the criminal justice system
· 332 by self-referral or referral from other individuals
· 135 by community organizations
· 99 by alcohol/drug abuse care providers
· 51 by other health care providers
· 7 by schools and
· 3 by employers or employee assistance programs.
Taken from: SAMHSA’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, A Day in the Life of Young Adults: Substance Use Facts, June 10, 2014.
High School and Youth Trends
Since 1975, the Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey has been administered annually to study the extent of and beliefs about drug use among 12th-graders. The survey was expanded in 1991 to include 8th- and 10th-graders. It is funded by NIDA and is conducted by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. The goal of the survey is to collect data on past month, past year, and lifetime drug use among students in these grade levels. The 33rd annual study was conducted during 2007.
Decreases or stability in abuse patterns were noted for most drugs from 2006 to 2007. Below are the key findings, based on data from the 2007 MTF survey. For individual drugs, a decrease or increase is noted only if statistically significant; other trends are considered stable and are not highlighted below.