Marijuana Use Continues to Rise Among U.S. Teens, while Alcohol Use
hits Historic Lows

ANN ARBOR October 23,2012 - Among the more important findings from this year’s Monitoring the Future survey of U.S. secondary school students are the following:

  • Marijuana use among teens rose in 2011 for the fourth straight year—a sharp contrast to the considerable decline that had occurred in the preceding decade. Daily marijuana use is now at a 30-year peak level among high school seniors.
  • “Synthetic marijuana,” which until earlier this year was legally sold and goes by such names as “K2” and “spice,” was added to the study’s coverage in 2011; one in every nine high school seniors (11.4%) reported using that drug in the prior 12 months.
  • Alcohol use—and, importantly, occasions of heavy drinking—continued a long-term gradual decline among teens, reaching historically low levels in 2011.
  • Energy drinks are being consumed by about one third of teens, with use highest among younger teens.


In 2011, a nationally representative sample of 47,000 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students, attending 400 public and private secondary schools, participated in the Monitoring the Future

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