Surprising, yet satisfying results from a new study conducted by 'Monitoring the Future' and released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, finding that illicit drug usage is declining amongst teens in the United States.
"This year’s Monitoring the Future data continue the promising trends from last year with declining rates of adolescent substance use, and support the value of evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery," remarked National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli.
The research was conducted using a population of 44,892 kids in grades 8 through 12. The study found that the number of teens who use illicit drugs has been dropping across the board. All substances, including prescription opioids, MDMA, alcohol and even cigarettes have seen a decline in users.
"Use of many illicit drugs has trended down. Among high school seniors, 23.6 percent report using an illicit drug in the past month, with 7.6 percent reporting they used an illicit drug other than marijuana."
There is in fact one drug that seems to remain consistent, marijuana, with more teens saying that regular use is not considered risky.
MDMA, Molly or ecstasy usage has been steadily declining over the past few years. 3.6% of high school seniors reported use in 2015, down from 5% in 2014.
Heroin use is also at an all-time low of 0.3% for teens in 8th grade and 0.5% for those in 10th and 12th grade. Prescription opioids are on the downward trend as well, 4.4% of high school seniors say they partake in non-medical use of Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetaminophen), which peaked at 10.5% in 2003.
Cigarette use has also declined with a 54.9% drop in daily smoking over the past 5 years. With that being said, the vaping trend seems to be on the rise with roughly twice as many boys as girls report using e-cigarettes. The study notes that e-cigs are unregulated, so it is difficult to know what these teens are actually ingesting.
One the other hand, Adderall and prescription amphetamines seem to remain typically high at 7.5%.
You can read more about the MTF study here.