Teen Marijuana Abuse Statistics

The percentage of America's 8th, 10th, and 12th graders who abuse marijuana continued to increase last year, according to NIDA's 1994 Monitoring the Future study.

Students' use of several other categories of drugs also escalated, while antidrug attitudes among teenagers deteriorated, the survey found.  For the third year in a row, the survey reported a statistically significant increase in annual teen marijuana abuse by 8th-grade students. Thirteen percent of 8th graders said they had tried marijuana at least once in the past year-up from 9.2 percent in 1993, 7.2 percent in 1992, and 6.2 percent in 1991.

It was the second year in a row that annual marijuana abuse among 10th- and 12th-grade students increased. Tenth graders' annual teen marijuana use jumped from 19.2 percent in 1993 to 25.2 percent. According to the annual survey, 30.7 percent of high school seniors said they had tried marijuana at least once in the past year, compared with 26 percent of seniors in 1993 and 21.9 percent of seniors in 1992.

Although the report of increased marijuana use among teenagers, particularly among 8th graders, was the most disturbing survey finding, NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner pointed out that the 1994 figures remain lower than for most previous years. In 1979, for example, 50.8 percent of 12th graders had tried marijuana in the past year, and every year from 1975 through 1985, the percentage of 12th graders who had smoked marijuana at least once in the year before the survey was more than 40 percent, he said. "Nonetheless, we must recognize that these [current] survey findings are disturbing because they show a continuing trend upward in drug use after a number of years in which that trend [teen marijuana abuse] was downward," Dr. Leshner said.

Information released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse