Study Shows Youth Marijuana Use Has Gone Down – to the 8th Grade

A new survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows changing attitudes and perceptions about marijuana risks are responsible for the increasing number of 8th-graders who smoke pot, according to MSN News.

The Obama administration expressed its concern last Wednesday, December 18, over the rising use of marijuana among teens. The new study shows that most youth perceive marijuana use less risky and dangerous when compared with, say cigarette smoking.

The new survey shows that 60 percent of 12th-graders don’t see regular marijuana as harmful, while 12 percent of 8th-graders reported that they have tried or smoked pot last year.

A survey found that more than 12 percent of eighth-graders said they had used marijuana in the past year and that more teens are smoking pot than cigarettes. The survey also showed that 23 percent of high school seniors have used marijuana last month, which is higher compared with 16 percent who admitted they smoke cigarettes.

“Making matters worse, more teens are now smoking marijuana than smoke cigarettes,” Gil Kerlikowske, the Obama administration’s drug czar, told MSN News. “Well, this isn’t a recipe for raising a healthy generation of young people who are prepared to meet America’s challenges.”

Kerlikowske criticized Washington State and Colorado after the states legalized marijuana use.

“For some to say that it is less dangerous than other substances is a ridiculous statement,” Kerlikowske said in a speech directed to pro-legalization advocates who claim that marijuana is safer than alcohol.

A breakdown of some of the facts found in the study is listed below:

  •  Among 12th-graders – 6.5 percent said they smoke pot every day; 36 percent said they had smoke pot last year.
  •  Among 10th-graders – 4 percent said they some pot every day; 18 percent reported they used marijuana last month; 29.8 percent said they had used it last year.

Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug abuse, is very alarmed about the numbers.

“These are very high numbers, considering that these are kids at school,” Volkow said.