HealthDay News — According to a new survey by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, illicit drug use among US teens is at an all-time low — with the exception of marijuana.

The results come from the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey, an annual study of behaviors and choices among teens in the 8th, 10th and 12th grades.

This year’s survey found that the use of illicit drugs other than marijuana is at its lowest level in the history of the survey for all 3 grades. 

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Teen use of prescription opioids is trending downward among 12th graders, with a 45% drop in past-year use compared to 5 years ago. 

Only 4.8% of high school seniors said they smoke cigarettes every day, compared to 22.2% 2 decades ago. 

For 10th graders, the 2016 daily smoking rate is 1.9%, compared to 18.3% in 1996. About 56% of 12th graders drank alcohol in the past year, compared to a peak of about 75% in 1997. 

Younger teens also followed this trend — 38% of 10th graders and 17.6% of eighth graders reported past-year use, compared to peaks of 65.3% in 2000 for 10th graders and 46.8% in 1994 among eighth graders.

Results regarding marijuana were more mixed. Its use within the past month among eighth graders dropped significantly, down to 5.4% in 2016 compared with 6.5% in 2015. Daily use also declined among eighth graders, to 0.7% compared with 1.1% the year before. 

However, older teens continued to use marijuana at about the same rate. For example, 22.5% of high school seniors reported using marijuana within the past month, and 6% reported daily use — roughly the same as last year.


“Teen Substance Use Shows Promising Decline”. Updated December 13, 2016. Available at: Accessed December 14, 2016.

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