|Alternative Care Clinic|
One of the nation’s foremost surveys on teen drug use has found that teen marijuana use is down slightly nationwide. It also shows teen cigarette use has reached an all-time low, highlighting the potential benefit of regulating marijuana and controlling sales to teens.
The annual Monitoring the Future Survey released today by the National Institutes of Health found that from 2011 to 2012:
• Daily marijuana use decreased among 8th- and 12th-graders, while remaining the same for 10th-graders.
• Past-30-day marijuana use decreased among 8th- and 10th-graders, while increasing only slightly among 12th-graders.
• Annual marijuana use decreased among 8th- and 10th-graders, while remaining the same for 12th-graders.
|Mason Tvert, Marijuana Policy Project: “By regulating marijuana in a similar fashion [to tobacco], we can take sales off the streets and put them behind the counter where proof of age is required”|
The survey also found that teen cigarette use decreased to an all-time low among all age groups, demonstrating that strict regulations and public education have been effective means of reducing teen use. According to the High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey released in June by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), significantly fewer teens are using cigarettes than marijuana, suggesting that regulating marijuana could be more effective than prohibition when it comes to preventing teen use.
“Strictly regulating tobacco and restricting sales to minors has brought teen cigarette use to an all-time low,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications at the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “By regulating marijuana in a similar fashion, we can take sales off the streets and put them behind the counter where proof of age is required, and it is harder for teens to get their hands on it.”
The CDC survey also found that in Colorado, past-30-day marijuana use among high school students decreased 11 percent since the state began regulating the sale of medical marijuana, whereas it increased 11 percent nationwide, where marijuana remains entirely unregulated.
“Regulation is clearly more effective than prohibition when it comes to keeping products like tobacco and marijuana out of the hands of teens,” said Tvert.
The survey data is available at http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/data/12data.html#2012data-drugs.