Teen Marijuana Use and Attitudes

The percentage of teens who think that using marijuana is harmful has declined as teen marijuana use has increased.

The survey revealed a continuing decline in the percentage of teens attitudes that using marijuana, cocaine, or crack cocaine is harmful. In 1991, 62.8 percent of 8th graders perceived great risk in trying crack once or twice, but in 1994, only 54.4 percent said they thought trying crack was risky. The percentage of 8th graders in 1994 who associated great risk with trying cocaine powder once or twice or in taking crack and cocaine powder occasionally also dropped.
In 1994, fewer teens in all three grades said trying marijuana once or twice, smoking marijuana occasionally, or even smoking marijuana regularly is harmful to their health. A decline in the perception of drug use as harmful means that more young people are vulnerable to the use of drugs, said Dr. Leshner.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Dr. Donna E. Shalala called the findings about increased teen marijuana use by 8th graders the most disturbing part of the survey. "Let's not forget," she said, "we're talking about 13-year-olds."

Information provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse