NEW YORK, Dec. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- We are encouraged by the positive results of the 2007 Monitoring the Future study (MTF) released today in Washington, D.C., showing promising strides in the right direction with significant declines in overall teen drug use. These decreases are part of a larger trend for all measured age groups marking steady long-term reductions in youth drug use over the past six years (2001-2007).
MTF, now in its 33rd year, is an independent study among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan under a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
According to MTF, since 2001, overall teen drug use is down a sharp 24 percent (19.4 percent vs. 14.8 percent); teen use of marijuana is down 25 percent (16.6 percent vs. 12.4 percent); Ecstasy use is down by more than half (54 percent) and steroid use is down 33 percent (0.9 percent vs. 0.6 percent). Teen use of alcohol and cigarettes is also down significantly during in the 2001-2007 time period. Teen alcohol use is down 15 percent (35.5 percent vs. 30.1 percent); cigarette use is down 33 percent (20.2 percent vs. 13.6 percent).
"There are 860,000 fewer young people using drugs today than there were in 2001," said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership. "This is very encouraging news and while the current MTF study underscores real progress and reason for hope in reducing the demand for drugs among teens, the data demand continued vigilance and the attention of all in the prevention field. Educating youth about the dangers of drugs and childhood drinking is an on-going job; a job that parents, caregivers, schools, government, the media, and members of the community must all continue to do together."
Since 1998 the Partnership and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) have collaborated on a national multi-platform education campaign aimed at reducing the demand for drugs among teens. At the core of this communications initiative is a federally funded advertising program featuring drug education messages created by the Partnership and donated to the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign (NYADMC) on a pro bono basis. The data released today clearly show that program is making a significant positive contribution to reduced rates of marijuana use in America. Through demand reduction -- that is prevention, intervention and treatment -- we have seen the scope of the drug problem in America improve -- with teen use of marijuana down dramatically by 25 percent.
The Partnership's work has been further strengthened by the dedication and commitment of our partners in prevention; The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, Major League Baseball, Alliance for Consumer Education, the Department of Justice and others as well as the numerous volunteer advertising agencies and media partners who have worked tirelessly to help change drug abuse attitudes and behaviors.
"The data over the past six years is particularly heartening as we are seeing real progress in the very same areas where we have focused our educational efforts and communications campaigns," said Pasierb. "The Partnership's national methamphetamine demand reduction program, Meth360, continues to expand and is uniting communities across country to combat the spread of meth; with the help of our partners at Major League Baseball we have been addressing youth steroid use via the only sustained national-scale steroid education program; and, our groundbreaking Ecstasy education campaign has helped change attitudes and misunderstanding about a dangerous drug that teens were abusing at alarming levels just a few years ago. Teen Ecstasy use increased by 71 percent over a two-year period between 1999 and 2001 and is now down by more than 50 percent."
The Partnership does not claim to have caused these reductions alone, but there is strong evidence to support that that Partnership helped drive changes in parents' and kids' attitudes that led to the significant changes in drug using behavior.
Intentional Abuse of Medicines Still a Concerning Problem Among Teens
While the declines in teen drug use are indeed good news, MTF also points to some areas of concern, namely with the continued abuse of medicines among our nation's youth. Prescription drug abuse remains high with virtually no significant drop in nonmedical use of most individual prescription drugs while painkillers are still some of the most commonly abused medications among 12th graders: 1 in 10 reported nonmedical use in the past year.
"These findings from the MTF study echo our own Partnership Attitude Tracking Study and additional research the Partnership has conducted on teens and the abuse of prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Recent Partnership studies corroborate the steady declines in marijuana use among teens, but these findings continue to be overshadowed by the significant and alarmingly high percentage of teens intentionally abusing Rx and OTC medicines to get high."
"Today's teens are taking the risk of getting high from products they all too easily find at home," said Pasierb. "Communication between parents and kids is remains the most effective prevention tool when it comes to protecting your teen from abusing medications or street drugs. Kids who report learning 'a lot' about the dangers of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely to use."
While the MTF data is definitely very good news, it should also serve as a reminder to parents and caregivers across the country that all teenagers -- regardless of who they are or where they live -- are exposed to the lure of illegal drugs, medicine abuse and drinking. For this reason, the Partnership continues to focus its efforts on motivating, supporting and empowering parents and all caring adults with the resources and tools they need to help protect their children from drug abuse. Our Web sites http://www.drugfree.org and http://www.TimeToTalk.org are two great places to turn for helpful information and resources.
---Steve Pasierb, President and CEO
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is a nonprofit organization uniting communications professionals, renowned scientists and parents. Best known for its national drug-education campaign, the Partnership's mission is to reduce illicit drug use in America. Now in its 20th year, the Partnership helps parents and caregivers effectively address drug and alcohol abuse with their children. A major new initiative now unfolding integrates the latest science and research with the most effective traditional media and digital communication techniques to give parents the tools, resources and support they need to help their children lead healthy lives. This effort -- the first ever for the Partnership -- will include a web-based interactive information resource center, parent-to-parent support network, a national toll-free call center and user-friendly online/offline tools. The Partnership depends on donations and support from individuals, corporations, foundations and government. The Partnership thanks SAG/AFTRA for their ongoing generosity.
|SOURCE The Partnership for a Drug-Free America|
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