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Teen Pot Use Levels Off

Use by 8th graders declines, according to survey

By Jordan Smith, 12:06PM, Fri. Dec. 21, 2012

Teen Pot Use Levels Off

Use of marijuana by teens remained flat in 2012, while use by 8th graders actually declined, according to the annual Monitoring the Future survey of nearly 50,000 students nationwide.

The survey, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and administered each year by researchers at the University of Michigan, has tracked each year since 1991 drug use by adolescents in 8th, 10th and 12th grades.

According to this year's survey, 49% of high school seniors have used an illegal drug during their lifetime, while 40% have done so in 2012. Taking marijuana out of the mix, 17% of high school students reported use of any other illicit drug – hallucinogens, cocaine, heroin, pharmaceuticals – during the year. The number of seniors who reported pot use in 2012 came in at 36%, while the percentage of seniors who say they use pot daily is 6.5%. Meanwhile, pot use declined modestly among 8th graders – from roughly 14% in 2010 to 11.4% this year.

Pot use rates stalled out in 2012 after three years of modest increases, according to the report. Use rates are still significantly lower than they were in the mid-Nineties, for all three grades, and are considerably lower than the near 50% use rate by seniors in the late Seventies. Still, the percentage of kids saying that the see "great risk" in regularly using marijuana continues to decline for all three grades, from a peak high near 80% in the early Nineties.

Read a summary of the survey results here.

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