Downward trend of marijuana use among teens continues, says results from new survey.
The 2016 version of a survey called Monitoring the Future, finds that eighth and tenth grade students students who responded to the survey said marijuana was harder to get now than at any point in the past 24 years, according to a story on usnews.com.
The somewhat surprising result comes on the heels of eight states and the District of Columbia voting to legalize sales of marijuana to adults, moves that many predicted would lead to increased usage among teens and young adults.
Responding to the survey question about the marijuana being easy to get, only 34.6 percent of students from the eighth grade agreed, a drop of 2.4 percent from the previous year, and 64 percent of tenth grade students said they found the drug easily available, also the lowest rate ever in the survey.
High school seniors reported greater availability at 81 percent, but that was only a slight increase over last year’s results, which were the lowest since the seniors were first asked the question back in 1975.
Rates of actual use of marijuana also continued to fall among eighth and tenth grade students, and remained about the same for seniors.
This is somewhat surprising,” offered Dr. Nora Volkow. “We had predicted based on the changes in legalization, culture in the U.S. as well as decreasing perceptions among teenagers that marijuana was harmful that [accessibility and use] would go up. But it hasn’t gone up.”
Volkow is the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the group which commissioned the survey.
Opinions vary on the cause of the decline, ranging from teens spending more time in front of computer and gaming screens, to better education and awareness programs aimed at teens and youth.
Some even suggest the fascination with marijuana use among teens is waning, and the drug just isn’t cool anymore, offering that marijuana use is not the symbol of revolution and defiance it once may have been, as it becomes more accepted.
Notably, the rates of use for 18-24 year old young adults is on the increase, perhaps partially due to states make the product legally available to those over 21, but it doesn’t appear the trend is trickling down to younger students.