America faces a serious drug problem today but there may be some good news in the pipeline. According to the 2016 Monitoring the Future (MTF) annual survey released by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is a steady decrease in the misuse of dangerous substances like marijuana, tobacco, alcohol and medications. The MTF observes drug use among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in America.
According to the findings, 2015 recorded the lowest use of any of these dangerous substances by 8th graders. 2015 also recorded a steady decline from recent years in all the grades for all substances but marijuana. The study also notes a remarkable decrease in alcohol consumption among these teenagers. The trend is similar for the abusive use of prescription medications. It remains a serious problem in the adult population in America. For teenagers though, the MTF report shows a steep fall.
Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of NIDA, says: “Clearly our public health prevention efforts, as well as policy changes to reduce availability, are working to reduce teen drug use, especially among eighth graders.”
She continues that, “… when 6 percent of high school seniors are using marijuana daily, and new synthetics are continually flooding the illegal marketplace, we cannot be complacent. We also need to learn more about how teens interact with each other in this social media era, and how those behaviors affect substance use rates.”
With such a call from the NIDA boss, it is clear that while we may be contented with the fact that substance use and abuse is decreasing among teenagers in America, the problem remains precarious and must be taken seriously. Perhaps channeling even more resources to deal with the problem could help bring the situation further under control.