Drug Trends With Today’s Youth

In this series, we are talking about the current drug trends that are affecting our youth of today. In part one, we covered a few drugs like marijuana, and some of the newer synthetic drugs. In part two, we are going to continue to talk about prescription drugs and other drugs and how many of our teenagers are using them.

In a surprising turn of events, teens abusing Vicodin has reduced by nearly half over the last decade. Vicodin is a narcotic pain reliever. Vicodin abuse has reduced to 5.3 percent for high school seniors, compared to 10.5 percent in 2003. Abuse of dextromethorphan is also down among seniors. Five percent of seniors say they are abusing this compared to almost 7 percent in 2006.

Here is an overview of what has been reported by various groups of high school seniors and their drug use: Marijuana 36.4%, Synthetic Marijuana 7.9%, Adderall 7.4%, Vicodin 5.3%, Cough med 5%, Tranquilizers 4.6%, Hallucinogens 4.5%, Sedatives 4.8%, Salvia 3.4%, Oxycontin 3.6%, MDMA 4%, Inhalants 2.5%, Cocaine 2.6%, and Ritalin at 2.3%.
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In terms of good news, if you can really call it that, a positive trend that we are seeing is a reduced use of inhalants, cocaine, and especially crack cocaine. Over the past five years, cocaine use among all grades has dropped. Younger teens abusing inhalants also continued in a downward trend in 2013 as well. 5.2 percent of 8th graders, and 3.5 percent of 10th graders reporting using last year. Other drugs, however are still in a steady holding pattern. These drugs consist of heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and hallucinogens.

Tobacco use is also on the decline among high school seniors. We are seeing fewer teens smoke cigarettes, but this number is skewed because teenage marijuana use is on the rise. In the mid 1990's, cigarette smoking by high school students peaked but has really declined since then. For instance, in 2013 about 16.3 percent of all high school seniors that were surveyed by MTF were current cigarette smokers or had at least smoked a cigarette over the past month. This percentage is the lowest teen smoking has been since the survey's inception.

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