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New U of M study shows drops in teen drug use

Dec 13, 2016

A new University of Michigan report finds teen drug use is continuing to decline in the U.S.

U of M’s Monitoring the Future project has been studying teenage drug use for more than four decades.

“Teen smoking at 12th-grade, 10th-grade and eighth-grade is at the lowest level we’ve ever recorded in 42 years. The same with alcohol use. Same with measures of heavy alcohol use, like binge drinking or getting drunk,” says researcher Richard Meich. “So it looks like teens are moving away from drug use.”

There is also progress in another area.

In recent years, there’s been a surge in “vaping.” It's the practice of using a device that vaporizes a liquid product. There’s been concern vaping teens could develop a taste for nicotine that could lead them to cigarettes later in life.

But researcher Richard Meich says the 2016 survey finds a drop in teen vaping as well. He admits the reason for the decline is unclear, but there is a potential clue in the survey.

“In 2016, there was a slight increase in the level of perception of harm that adolescents have towards vaping…that they think it might hurt them if they engage with it on a regular basis,” says Meich.