2014 Monitoring the Future Survey

2014 Monitoring the Future Survey Results

2014 Monitoring the Future Survey Results

Youth use of alcohol, cigarettes and illicit drugs are steadily declining, but e-cigarette use is high and the perception that marijuana is harmful is low, according to the 2014 Monitoring the Future Survey, released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The MTF survey measures substance use among eighth, 10th and 12th grader, is funded by the NIDA, and is conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Key findings

  • Past month use of smoked marijuana remained steady among eighth graders at 6.5 percent, 10th graders at 16.6 percent and 12th graders at 21.2 percent. Close to 6 percent of 12th graders report daily use of marijuana.
  • The majority of high school seniors do not think occasional marijuana smoking is harmful, with only 16.4 percent saying occasional use puts the user at great risk, compared to 27.4 percent five years ago.
  • Past year use of narcotics other than heroin, which includes all opioid pain relievers, was reported by 6.1 percent of high school seniors, compared with 7.1 percent a year ago.
  • Past year use of the opioid pain reliever Vicodin showed a significant five-year drop, with 4.8 percent of 12th graders using Vicodin for non-medical reasons, half of what it was just five years ago, at 9.7 percent.
  • Past year non-medical use of the stimulant Adderall, often prescribed for ADHD, remained relatively steady, at 6.8 percent for high school seniors.
  • The survey continues to show that most teens get these medicines from friends or relatives and to a lesser degree from their own prescriptions.
  • Eighth, 10th and 12th graders reported past month use of alcohol at 9.0, 23.5 and 37.4 percent respectively, compared to 10.2, 25.7, and 39.2 percent last year.
  • There was also a significant drop in binge drinking, five or more drinks in a row in the last two weeks, in 2014 among high school seniors, which is now under 20 percent. The most recent peak rate of binge drinking for seniors was in 1998 at 31.5 percent.

Need for continued prevention

Even though some areas of youth substance use are steadily declining, NIDA and Office of National Drug Control Policy directors echo their support for prevention efforts.

“It is now more important than ever for the public health community to continue to educate teens, parents, teachers, community leaders, the media and health care providers about the specific harms of drug use among teens, whose brains are still developing,” said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow.

Michael Botticelli, ONDCP acting director, said that the MTF data shows promising signs on the declining rates of youth substance use, but it also reinforces the need to continue efforts on prevention, treatment, and recovery.

Next Step agrees with Volkow and Botticelli. It’s validating to see that across the nation, substance use is declining; however, it still reinforces the need for substance abuse prevention.

Join a coalition to help prevent youth substance use

If you’re a concerned community member and aren’t happy with these statistics and want to make a change in your local community, consider joining one of our coalitions. Our coalition’s work to prevent youth drinking, marijuana use and prescription drug use.

The coalitions works to make changes at the environmental level. They focus on the environmental problems in the community that are causing local youth to abuse substances. After the local problems and causes have been identified, the coalitions bring community members together to address the problems with evidence-based strategies.