The Drug Class Blog

May 09

Teen Marijuana Use Increases

We have talked about this issue several times on this site but here is another article which confirms that we need to pay a lot of attention to Marijuana use in the teen population.


Heavy' Marijuana Use by Teens Surges

By Buddy T, GuideMay 2, 2012

The 23rd Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) is out and it's not good news for parents who hope their children make it through high school without doing drugs. The latest survey indicates that smoking weed is becoming more acceptable behaviour among teens and heavy marijuana use is now at disturbingly high levels.

Heavy use of marijuana - smoking 20 or more times a month - has increased 80 percent since 2008, the study shows.

The annual study, conducted by The Partnership at and MetLife Foundation, also found that prescription drug use by teens may be levelling off, but it is still a disturbing levels.

Half of All Teens Have Smoked Pot

Some key findings on marijuana use include:

Almost half of all teens (47%) have used marijuana, up 21% since 2008.Two out of every five teens (39%) have tried marijuana in the past year, up 31%.Past-month use has increased 42% from 19% in 2008 to 27% in 2011.Heavy monthly use (20 or more times) is up 80% from 5% to 9%.

The study revealed that the increase in marijuana use is due to the increased use among teenage boys. Teen males reported past-month use up 38% and heavy monthly use up 57%.

Becoming More Acceptable Behaviour

There is an increasing belief by teens that marijuana is "OK"

Another concern for parents is the shift in high school students' attitude about marijuana use. According to the PATS data:

Only 26% agree that "in my school, most teens don't smoke marijuana."71% say they have friends who smoke regularly.Only 41% say they "strongly disapprove" of their friends' smoking.Only 51% say that using marijuana causes them a "great risk."

Leads to Other Drug Use?

There is considerable difference between using a drug once and awhile and using it regularly.

Although many marijuana smokers claim that marijuana is not a gateway drug, the PATS survey found that among teens who do smoke weed regularly are:

30 times more likely to use cocaine or crack.20 times more likely to use ecstasy.15 times more likely to abuse pain pills.14 times more likely to abuse over-the-counter medication.

Real Trouble for the Future

From 1998 through 2008, teen marijuana use showed a steady decline in past PATS surveys. The new report shows a steady upward trend in teen marijuana use for the past three years. Teen marijuana use is now back to the level at which it peaked in 1998.

"These findings are deeply disturbing as the increases we're seeing in heavy, regular marijuana use among high school students can spell real trouble for these teens later on," said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership at "Heavy use of marijuana - particularly beginning in adolescence - brings the risk of serious problems and our data show it is linked to involvement with alcohol and other drugs as well. Kids who begin using drugs or alcohol as teenagers are more likely to struggle with substance use disorders when compared to those who start using after the teenage years."

What do you think?

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