MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Monitoring the Future conducts annual, nationally-representative surveys of ~45,000 adolescents every year to assess trends in substance use. We track which drugs are gaining traction among adolescents and which are falling out of favor. The survey draws separate, nationally-representative samples of 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students from about 400 total schools every year. Once a recruited school agrees to participate, a field interviewer travels to the school to administer the paper-and-pencil survey, typically in classrooms. The project is funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse and is carried out by the University of Michigan. More details on the project’s survey design and survey procedures can be found in chapter 3 here: http://monitoringthefutu re.org/pubs/monographs/mtf- vol1_2016.pdf
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: What should readers take away from your report?
This year’s report highlights three main findings. First, vaping had made substantial inroads among adolescents, and youth are vaping a variety of substances. Nearly 30% of 12th grade students used some kind of vaping device in the past year in 2017. Of those who vaped, about 2 out of 3 reported vaping nicotine, and also 2 out of 3 also reported vaping “just flavoring.” One out of three reported vaping marijuana.
Second, adolescent use of cigarettes is now at the lowest level ever recorded by the survey, which started in 1975. Among 12th graders 10% reported using cigarettes in the past 30 days, down from 37% in 1997. The percentage of youth who used cigarettes in 10th and 8th grade students were 5% and 2%, respectively. The sustained decline of cigarette use over the past two decades is a great success story that will lead to long term gains in health for the U.S. population.
Third, marijuana use among adolescents edged up in 2017, the first significant increase in seven years. Overall, past-year use of marijuana significantly increased by 1.3% to 24% in 2017 for 8th, 10th, and 12th graders combined. Specifically, in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades the respective increases were 0.8% (to 10.1%), 1.6% (to 25.5%) and 1.5% (to 37.1%). The increase is statistically significant when all three grades are combined.
The survey tracks more than 50 drugs and drug categories, and full details on all are available at: http://monitoringthefuture.org/data/17data.html#2017data-drugs
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: This study highlights the importance of current efforts to examine the potential health effects of vaping. Millions of American vape and little is known about the potential health consequences of this behavior.
The increase in adolescent marijuana prevalence in 2017 was not large but it was statistically significant. These results should raise eyebrows and raise interest in whether other national surveys of adolescent drug use will see the same increase when they release their results in the coming months. The increase naturally raises the question of whether it is related to the recent wave of states that have legalized recreational marijuana use, and, if so, what can be done to prevent legalization from encouraging youth to use marijuana.
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Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of https://www.drugabuse.gov/trends-statistics/monitoring-future/monitoring-future-study-trends-in-prevalence-various-drugsVarious Drugs
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