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NIH Survey Shows Drug, Alcohol and Cigarette Use Declines Among Teens

Posted on in Drug Crimes

teen drug use in wisconsin, Milwaukee criminal defense lawyerA recent study shows that the use of many illegal substances is down among U.S. teens. The only substance that did not see a decline in usage was marijuana, which remained stable. Conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH), the results are based on the Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey of teenagers in the eighth, tenth and twelfth grades. Public health officials are encouraged by the findings and believe that consistent and fact-based public service campaigns have contributed to the declining numbers.

Alcohol and Cigarette Use Declines

The number of teens who reported that they have “been drunk” in the past year are at the lowest point ever in the MTF survey’s history.  In 2016, 37.3 percent of high school seniors reported in the survey as being drunk at least once. This number peaked in 2001, when 53.2 percent of seniors reported that they had been drunk at least once in the previous year.

As for cigarettes, the number of teen users has been in steady decline since 1996. The 2016 study found that 10.5 percent of twelfth graders, 4.9 percent of tenth graders, and 2.6 percent of eighth graders reported past-month cigarette use.

Marijuana Consumption Stays the Same

High school sophomores and seniors reported marijuana consumption at about the same rate as in NIH surveys in years past. Among twelfth graders, 22.5 percent admit to using marijuana in the past month, and 6 percent said they use marijuana daily.

The survey did show that teens consumed more marijuana in states with medical marijuana laws.  In some states, anyone over age 18 can be prescribed medical marijuana. In medical marijuana states, 38.8 percent of seniors reported using marijuana in the past year compared to 33.3 percent of seniors in states without laws authorizing medical marijuana.

Public health officials want to continue focusing on outreach related to marijuana consumption, in light of the NIH survey findings, and recent marijuana and medical marijuana legalization in states throughout the country.

Other Drugs See a Reduction in Use

In contrast with adults, teen use of prescription opioid pain medication has been trending downwards.  High school seniors reporting use has declined 45 percent over the past five years. 

But, Arrests For Drug Crimes Are Not Declining

Despite some states having legalized marijuana possession, it is still illegal to possess, transfer and use marijuana in Wisconsin.  Marijuana is listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, like heroin and cocaine.  While Wisconsin has enacted a minimal medical marijuana law allowing use of cannabidiol in a form without psychoactive properties, it can only be prescribed to treat seizure disorders.

Contact a Milwaukee Juvenile and Criminal Defense Lawyer 

If you or your family member has been charged with drug possession or delivery, operating a vehicle while intoxicated or with a controlled substance present in blood, or other related offenses, an experienced criminal defense lawyer will be of invaluable help in resolving the charges. Our attorneys are knowledgeable about state and federal drug laws and treatment programs, and are client-oriented, when we deal with these difficult situations for you and your family. Call the Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP at 414-271-1440.





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