Troubled Teen Options

Teen Drug Abuse

Here’s the good news - teens drug abuse for 8-12th graders is going down. But the bad news is for the same group, OxyContin use is rising. That’s according to a study at the University of Michigan. How bad is it? “At least one in every 20 high school seniors has tried this powerful narcotic drug in the past year,” the study reported. Troubled teens often get started and become involved in drugs in the earlier years. Here are the stats: 8th-graders who report using an illicit drug at least once (in the 12 months before the survey) dropped nearly by half. It was at 24 percent in 1996 and is at 13 percent for 2007. 10th graders went from 39% down to 28%. 12th graders went from 42% to 36%. It’s apparent that while there are drops in use, as youth get older their risk for taking drugs increases. The decline was less dramatic for 10th-graders, from 39 percent in 1997 to 28 percent. Use declined among 12th-graders from 42 to 36 percent in the same period.


Fewer teens are abusing marijuana and stimulants - like amphetamines, probably because of increased public awareness. Cocaine was the exception. Its use has held steady at about 2-5%. On the other hand, MDMA, (or Ecstasy) use is rising. There are worries that it’s making a comeback among teens. The study is called, “Monitoring the Future,” and is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It has quite a large sample size of 48,025 students from 403 secondary schools. By Angie Driskill