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Monitoring the Future National Results on Adolescent Drug Abuse: Overview of Key Findings 2008

NCJ Number
Lloyd D. Johnston Ph.D.; Patrick M. O'Malley Ph.D.; Jerald G. Bachman Ph.D.; John E. Schulenberg Ph.D.
Date Published
May 2009
79 pages
This report presents the design, methods, and findings of the 2008 Monitoring the Future study, with a focus on adolescent drug use nationwide.
This study found that, 2008 was another year of modest changes in the use of most illicit drugs, continuing the trend observed for 2005-2007. Very few illicit drugs showed statistically significant changes in use patterns from 2007. Exceptions were the use of amphetamines, which showed a significant decrease again this year in lifetime, annual, and 30-day prevalence rates. Ritalin use showed a further but statistically insignificant decline. Most of the modest declines in 2008 occurred for the stimulant drugs, including cocaine and crack. Among the drugs that generally held steady from 2007 in at least two of the three grades (lifetime, annual, and 30-day prevalence rates) were marijuana and any illicit drug. A notable finding is that among 8th and 12th graders, declines in the use of many drugs may be ending, as indicated by the stabilizing of the use of many of the drugs listed in the survey; however, the declines apparently continued for 10th graders. One of the most impressive declines has been in the use of methamphetamine, whose use has fallen steadily and substantially since it was first measured in 1999. The slight increase in the annual prevalence of marijuana use was due primarily to its use among 8th and 12th graders. None of these changes reached statistical significance, however. The use of two important prescription narcotics, Vicodin and OxyContin, has not changed significantly since peak levels reached in recent years. Overall, the decline in cigarette use is continuing. Alcohol use remains widespread; however, among 12th graders, alcohol usage rates and binge drinking in particular are now substantially below peak levels of the early 1980s. 17 tables