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Marijuana Use Rises Among Teens

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Dr. Ernest Levister, Jr.Marijuana use among teenagers rose this year after previous declines; while the use of other illicit drugs such as cocaine, hallucinogens and methamphetamine declined.

According to an annual National Institute on Drug Abuse funded survey of nearly 47,000 students, one third of 12th graders and more than one quarter of 10th graders reported using marijuana in 2009. 12% of eighth-graders reported marijuana use, an increase from 11% in 2008.

The survey conducted by the University of Michigan, asked teenagers to report on smoking, alcohol and non-medical uses of prescription painkillers and over the counter cold and cough products. The report showed cigarette smoking was at the lowest point since the survey started in 1975. The use of smokeless tobacco products increased on some fronts this year.

Daily cigarette smoking by 12th graders was 11.2%, a slight drop from 11.4% in 2008.

Researchers cited an overall decrease in societal acceptance of tobacco use and widespread anti-smoking campaigns around schools and places where children congregate. In 1996, 49% of eighth graders reported trying cigarettes, compared with 20% this year.

Alcohol use stayed about the same last year with more than half of tenth-graders and about two-thirds of seniors reporting alcohol use in the past year.

Researchers said 66% of teens reported obtaining prescription drugs from a friend or relative, while 19% said they received the drugs with a doctor’s prescription, and 8% said they bought the drugs from a dealer.


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