Latest NIDA Survey Reveals Landscape of Teen Drug Abuse and Addiction
> 12/21/2005 3:01:30 PM

This week the National Institute on Drug Abuse released the results of their annual Monitoring the Future survey.  Given every year to a representative sample of around 50,000 students in both public and private schools, Monitoring the Future is considered the benchmark by the U.S. government for studying nationwide teenage drug abuse.

The results of this year's survey have been described by most as "mixed."  Cigarette use has reached its lowest point in the 31 year history of the survey.  Alcohol use has declined in the past year for 8th and 12th graders, and many other "harder" drugs saw decreases in use as well as in perception of availability.

The news however, was not all rosy.  The past couple of years have seen a significant rise in the use of prescription pain killers like Vicodan and OxyContin.  A similar increase was seen in the abuse of sleeping pills.

While it is nice to see some of the drugs that are often thought of as more serious beginning to decline in use, this survey should certainly not be any cause for celebration.  Indeed, the news of the increased use of prescription drugs should probably be raising more red flags than it seems to have since the results' publication.  It is stories like this one that show just how pervasive the prescription drug problem can be, and how often times they may be easier for teenagers to get when compared to things like heroin, ecstasy or cocaine.  Prescription painkillers can often be as damaging and addicting as other drugs of abuse.  Instead of viewing this latest survey as a triumph, it is important that educators and health care professionals continue to see Monitoring the Future as a tool to explore the areas where education and prevention can continue to improve.


Agreed. I think by definition prescription drugs are at least potentially dangerous (or they would be over-the-counter), in fact often more dangerous than some illegal drugs such as marijuana, perhaps. Yet they're easier to get. Not to mention the psychological threat, in many cases-- thinking that you're not a real addict b/c you're taking prescription drugs, which are legal (even if you're taking them illegally). In this case, you can fool yourself into thinking you're self-medicating and just eliminating Dr. Middleman.
Posted by: Allen Searls 12/23/2005 8:11:21 AM

well i totally agree with the topic at hand. teenage drug useage in our schools should and must be put to a stop. LOL LOL LOL JK's...prons!
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