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More teens using marijuana, fewer using alcohol

Amanda Darche with the Ingham County Health department says she's seen how prescription opioid abuse can lead to heroin use.
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The University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research has been conducting this study for 36 years.

The University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research has been monitoring drug use among teens for 36 years. This year's "Monitoring the Future" study had responses from more than 46,000 8th, 10th, and 12th graders.

They found that marijuana use is on the rise. 43.8% of 12th graders said they've used marijuana in their lifetime. That's up from 42% in 2009, and 42.6%  in 2008. From the study:

Marijuana use, which had been rising among teens for the past two years, continues to rise again this year—a sharp contrast to the considerable decline of the preceding decade

Alcohol use, on the other had has been decreasing. 54.1% of 12th graders said they'd been drunk in their lifetime. That's down from 56.5% in 2009, and 54.7% in 2008. From the study:

Alcohol use—and, specifically, occasions of heavy drinking—continues its long-term decline among teens into 2010, reaching historically low levels.

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody spoke with Lloyd Johnston at the U of M's Institute for Social Research.  Johnston says in addition to an increase in marijuana use, there's also been an increase in the use of ecstasy among teens. He says parents and elected leaders should act to avert a new epidemic of drug use:

"I think there's a danger of our repeating history here. If we don't find ways to educate these kids about drugs."

Other significant findings from the study:

  • Illicit drugs showing a decline include barbituates, vicodin, and cocaine
  • The use of many drugs remains unchanged in 2010, those include "any illicit drug other than marijuana, inhalants, LSD, hallucinogens other than LSD, PCP, crack, heroin without using a needle, OxyContin, amphetamines (including Ritalin and Adderall specifically), methamphetamine, crystal methamphetamine, several so-called "club drugs" (Rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine), and steroids."
Mark Brush was the station's Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.