Decline in alcohol use not seen locally

An article appeared in the journal Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine this month and it revealed that in United States, Canada and Europe youth are using considerably less marijuana. These declines were measured in a study by the World Health Organization on youth in 30 different countries between 2002 and 2006.

Researchers hypothesize that with the advent of cell phones, I-phones, the internet and text messaging, youth are less inclined to meet each other face to face in the evening. Because marijuana is primarily used away from the sight of adults, the decline in youth gathering face to face and away from adults may have caused the reduction in marijuana use. The United State ranked third in marijuana use in 2006 with 24 percent of boys and girls reporting marijuana use. This figure represents a 12 percent decline for boys and a 2 percent decrease among girls. These findings affirm that marijuana use has been declining since the 1990's.

The 2008 Monitoring the Future study shows a decline in alcohol use by youth. Alcohol use by youth peaked in the 1990's and has been declining ever since. This year's report shows a 40 percent decrease in eighth grade, frequent use of alcohol when compared to eighth graders that were surveyed at the peak levels in 1996. The 2008 Monitoring the Future study indicated that the rate of 12th graders reporting that they had been intoxicated declined to 28 percent, a one-fifth reduction from its peak level in 1997. The use of alcohol for tenth graders in all prevalence periods, lifetime use, 30-day use and binge drinking declined. In 2007, the rate was 56.3% and the rate declined to 52.8% in 2008.

Youth smoking rates have declined to the lowest rate ever recorded. These declines are largely attributed to the lowest rate ever recorded by monitoring the Future researchers. Researchers are quick to point out that even though smoking has declined year after year, one in ten high school seniors remain daily smokers. Likewise, alcohol remains the drug of choice in spite of yearly declines in use.

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