Marijuana Use Grows Among High Schoolers

Marijuana and teen 12-19-12

The Join Together Staff recently published an article on the frequency of marijuana use by seniors in high school. Nearly one-quarter of senior high school students have said they have smoked marijuana in the past month. And according to the 2012 Monitoring the Future Survey, a bit over 36 percent of these seniors admitted to using marijuana in the past year. This survey was conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan who also found that 6.5 percent of high school seniors smoked marijuana daily.

Tenth grade high school students said they use marijuana daily. Seventeen percent reported using the drug in the past month, and 28 percent in the past year. “We are increasingly concerned that regular or daily use of marijuana is robbing too many young people of their potential to achieve and excel in school or other aspects of life,” National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow said in a news release. “THC, a key ingredient in marijuana, alters the connectivity of the hippocampus a brain area related to learning and memory. In addition, we know from recent research that marijuana use that begins during adolescence can lower IQ and contribute to reduced cognitive abilities during adulthood.”

Approximately 45,000 eighth, 10th and 12th graders were asked in these surveys. Fewer students think of marijuana as harmful, compared to previous years, Bloomberg.com reported.

“Yet another year of increases in childhood marijuana use is deeply disturbing as these can spell real trouble for young kids later on,” Steve President and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org said in a statement. “Heavy use of marijuana – particularly beginning in adolescence – brings the risk of serious problems and our own data have shown it can lead 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 later in life. This is of particular concern because we know that 90 percent of addictions have roots in the teenage years.”

In contrast to the growing usage of marijuana, the survey found use of other illicit drugs continued declining among high school students.

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