In the past year, drug use among 10th graders of substances other than marijuana declined significantly, from 18.2 percent to 15.9 percent, but among 12th graders the decline in the use of marijuana has slowed.
The use of Ecstasy increased in 2007 among 10th and 12th graders. At the same time, the perceived risk of the drug declined.
Amphetamine use declined among 10th graders. Crystal methamphetamine use among seniors continued to drop in the past year, from 1.6 percent to 1.1 percent. Also, the use of crack cocaine dropped, from 1.9 percent to 1.6 percent among seniors from 2007 to 2008.
While marijuana use consistently declined since the mid-1990s, it appears to have leveled off. In the past year, 10.9 percent of eighth graders, 23.9 percent of 10th graders, and 32.4 percent of 12th graders reported using marijuana, the researchers found.
The survey, which has been conducted for the past 33 years, did find that cigarette smoking among teens is at the lowest rate ever. Also, alcohol use continues to drop slowly, with a significant decline among 10th graders in the past year, from 56.3 percent in 2007 to 52.5 percent in 2008. The decline was seen for lifetime use of alcohol and binge drinking, according to the survey.
Yet, 25 percent of seniors said they had five or more drinks in a row in the two weeks before the survey. And while smoking rates have also dropped, more than one in 10 seniors still smoke and 5.4 percent smoke more than half a pack a day.
The survey also measured attitudes about drugs among teens. Of particular note was the drop in the number of high school seniors who see LSD as harmful and the number of eighth graders who see inhalants as harmful.
This year's survey data was collected from 46,348 students in the eighth, 10th, and 12th grades in 386 public and private schools. The survey was done by re
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