Students smoking pot more, cigarettes less

Every five years, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the University of Michigan conduct a nationwide study on the drug and alcohol habits of our nation’s teens.  This year’s study ended up with a surprising result:  students are smoking marijuana more, including synthetic marijuana, and using cigarettes and alcohol less.

This year’s study surveyed 46,773 8th, 10th and 12th graders at 400 public and private schools.  The survey found that 36.4% of seniors reported smoking pot in the last year, and almost 7% said they use it every day, compared with 31.5 and 5% respectively, five years ago.

The survey data suggests this shift may be because students do not perceive marijuana to be dangerous or risky.  Only 22.7% of seniors saw a great risk in smoking marijuana occasionally, copared to 25.9% five years ago.  For 8th graders, this number went from 48.9% five years ago to 43.4% today.

However, despite declining numbers, some students are still using cigarettes and drinking alcohol.  The study showed 2.4% of 8th graders, 5.5% of 10th graders, and 10.3% of 12th graders said they smoke every day.  This is down from the peak in 1997 of 36.5% among seniors and 21.6% five years ago.

Regarding alcohol, 63.5% of seniors said they’d had alcohol in the last year compared to 74.8% in 1997.

Click here to read the article in Education Week, and here to see the full study.

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