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Drugs & Health Blog

NIDA News: Back to the Future?

This blog post is archived and is no longer being updated. For the latest content, please visit the main Drugs & Health Blog page.

Image Courtesy of David McKay

Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of NIDA

It's that time of year again-time to announce the results of NIDA's annual Monitoring the Future survey. For the 34th year, researchers went into classrooms all over the country and asked young people to fill out surveys about their drug use. This year 46,097 8th, 10th and 12th graders participated—that's a lot of teens! As the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, this is one of my favorite times of the year because we hold a big news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC to let the public know what the researchers learned. Here's the news this year, good and bad.

The good news is that methamphetamine use is at its lowest since the survey started tracking it 10 years ago. At that time, 4.7% of teens said they had tried meth in the previous month, but this year, just 1.2% said they had used it. Teens are also smoking cigarettes less than they used to. About 1 in 10 high school seniors say they smoke every day, compared to 4 in 10 in 1999. This drop translates to longer, healthier lives for today's teens.

But of course the survey also shows some not-so-good things. So while cigarette smoking is down, it looks as if more kids are chewing tobacco. Believe it or not, more than 6% of 10th graders say they use smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco products contain many toxins, as well as high levels of nicotine (3-4 times more than cigarettes), which makes them addictive. Not to mention what it does to your teeth and breath. Here are some more facts.

Also, too many teens are still abusing prescription drugs, which is not good. Unless a medicine is prescribed for you and you take it the way your doctor tells you to, prescription pills can be as dangerous as street drugs. In fact, more people are dying from accidental overdoses of prescription drugs than from cocaine and heroin combined. We have done some blogs about this in the past.

And for the first time, NIDA's Monitoring the Future survey asked 12th graders about their use of salvia, an herb common to southern Mexico and Central and South America—5.7% of high school seniors had abused it in the past year. People who abuse salvia typically experience hallucinations or episodes that resemble a type of mental illness known as psychosis (sigh-ko-sis), which can really be scary.

For more information on this year's survey results, go to the NIDA home page and click on the "Monitoring the Future" link.

This is a guest post from the Director of NIDA, Dr. Nora Volkow.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


helpful information! i like the guys orange jesus shirt

yes yes indeed

dont do drugs

life is pimmpe

looks like fun

Our children are our most precious resource and those of us who are commiting time to their development need to be tireless.

But they don't do it. I actually don't know how to control my children.

But of course the survey also shows some not-so-good things. [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

cool but to long lol

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Informative. I hope the survey shows "where" the rate of addiction to such things is typically high. Because I believe the surrounding/environment is a very influential factor.

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say no to drugs :)

drugs are not life, it takes our life.

dont do drugs just like i have been doinqq

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