Dec 17, 2015 10:18 PM EST
A recent survey reveals that alcohol and cigarette use in teens have significantly declined; however, the use of marijuana shows the same trend. What's more, researchers discovered that instead of regular cigarettes, teens today prefer marijuana for daily use.
The National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) conducted a survey among 8th, 10th and 12th graders. Results revealed that use of drugs were either flat or down in several categories. Overall trend shows that youngsters are toning down on cigarette and alcohol use, opioid pain reliever and synthetic marijuana abuse.
Despite the overall 'good news' the survey brought, researchers are particularly worried on the marijuana use. For the first time, it surpassed tobacco consumption at 5.5 percent among Grade 12 students; and all in all, marijuana use trend remains stagnant at 6 percent.
Moreover, most teens do not see the potential consequence it carries. Figures show that compared last year, 36.1 percent admit that regular use is harmful, this year, only 31.9 percent sees marijuana as harmful. Researchers also paid particular importance on these young people's still developing brain.
"One in every 16 or 17 high school seniors is smoking marijuana daily or near daily," the research claims. "These rates have changed rather little since 2010 but are for three to six times higher than they were at their low point in 1991."
The recent change in government policy and media exposure on marijuana's therapeutic benefits may have impacted the use of marijuana among teens. Dr. Nora Volkow, NIDA Director, suggests that these ads may give the teens an impression that marijuana is relatively safe. However, she claims that previous research has revealed its detrimental consequence.
This year's survey is conducted on nearly 45,000 students from 382 public and private schools. The authors acknowledge that the slowdown of cigarette and alcohol use is due to the aggressive campaigns conducted in school and to parents' education as well as the increase of sin tax on these commodities.
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