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Marijuana Use No Longer Dropping Among U.S. Teens
Date:12/14/2009

Federal report cites lower rates for meth and smoking, but concerns about prescription abuse,, ,,

MONDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer teenagers are using methamphetamine, but reductions in marijuana use have stalled and abuse of prescription drugs remains high, U.S. health officials report.

In addition, they said that newer drugs, such as the hallucinogenic salvia leaf and the prescription medication Adderall, which is intended for treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), appear to be gaining a foothold among teens.

The findings are in the annual report from the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, issued Dec. 14.

"Every time this study comes out, there is both good news and bad news," said Dr. Wilson Compton, director of the agency's division of epidemiology, services and prevention research.

"The long-term trends show some very positive changes in stimulants and methamphetamine, some improvements in cocaine that are very promising, but we don't see the ongoing improvement in marijuana or the overall measures of illicit drug use," he said.

"On the one hand, you could say it's stable, [and] that's not too bad," Compton said. "But when you are stable at very high rates, that tells us we need to redouble our efforts."

The big news in this year's report, he said, is that declines in marijuana use have stalled. "This has us concerned about a resurgence and also about what we can do to reduce the rates from where they are," he said.

On the plus side, smoking rates among teens are down, Compton noted. He added, however, that "we are now seeing illicit drugs more commonly used than cigarettes."

The findings in the report, 2009 Monitoring the Future, are based on data collected from 46,097 U.S. students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades at 389 public and private schools.

Just 1.2 percent of 12th graders said they had used methamp
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