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Monitoring the Future Survey, Overview of Findings 2010

Revised December 2012

This year's Monitoring the Future Survey raises concerns about increases in drug use among the Nation's teens, particularly the youngest.

  • Daily Marijuana use increased among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders from 2009 to 2010. Among 12th graders it was at its highest point since the early 1980's at 6.1%. This year, perceived risk of regular marijuana use also declined among 10th and 12th graders suggesting future trends in use may continue upward.
  • In addition, most measures of marijuana use increased among 8th graders between 2009 and 2010 (past year, past month, and daily), paralleling softening attitudes for the last 2 years about the risk of using marijuana.
  • Marijuana use is now ahead of cigarette smoking on some measures (due to decreases in smoking and recent increases in marijuana use). In 2010, 21.4 percent of high school seniors used marijuana in the past 30 days, while 19.2 percent smoked cigarettes.
  • Steady declines in cigarette smoking appear to have stalled in all three grades after several years of improvement on most measures.
  • After marijuana, prescription and over-the-counter medications account for most of the top drugs abused by 12th graders in the past year. Among 12th graders, past year non-medical use of Vicodin decreased from 9.7% to 8%. However, past year non-medical use of OxyContin remains unchanged across the three grades and has increased in 10th graders over the past 5 years. Moreover, past-year nonmedical use of Adderall and over-the-counter cough and cold medicines among 12th graders remains high at 6.5% and 6.6%, respectively.
  • After several years of decline, current and past year use of Ecstasy has risen among 8th and 10th graders. From 2009 to 2010, lifetime use of ecstasy among 8th graders increased from 2.2% to 3.3%, past year use from 1.3% to 2.4%, and current use 0.6% to 1.1%. This follows declines in perceived risk associated with MDMA use seen over the past several years.
  • Alcohol use has continued to decline among high school seniors with past-month use falling from 43.5% to 41.2% and alcohol binge drinking (defined as 5 or more drinks in a row in the past 2 weeks) declining from 25.2% to 23.2%. Declines were also observed for all measures among 12th graders reporting the use of flavored alcoholic beverages. Past year use fell from 53.4% to 47.9%.

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Images from Press Conference

  • Image of NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. discussing the 2010 Monitoring the Future survey results at press conference.
    NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. discusses the 2010 Monitoring the Future survey results at a press conference Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at the National Press Club. Seated next to the podium are R. Gil Kerlikowske, ONDCP Director (center), and Dr. Lloyd Johnston, survey principal investigator.
  • Photo of press conference attendees.
    Press conference attendees.
  • Photo of ONDCP Director R. Gil Kerlikowske. Seated beside him is NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D.
    ONDCP Director R. Gil Kerlikowske takes a question from a reporter. Seated beside him is NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D.

This page was last updated December 2012

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