Youth Drug Trends and Movements at Indiana University

A man smoking marijuana

Drug abuse and addiction is a growing issue in the United States. It seems that every year, youth drug abuse continues to climb. While in some areas drug abuse has seen a decline, others have exponential growth. Studies continue to produce results on the youth drug trends and movements in the nation. The Indiana University has produced such a report regarding the current happenings of youth drug use.

Marijuana Survey

The Indiana Prevention Resource Center at Indiana University Bloomington, which was funded by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction, conducted this new survey. By questioning 168,801 students in public and private schools, they were able to show the recent trend in youth drug trend and movements in Indiana. The report stated that marijuana use has risen in grades seven and ninth through twelfth. The decrease in marijuana use for eight graders shows a decline in the trend that was reported between 2008 through 2010 in monthly cannabis use. There is a continuation of eight and ninth through twelfth grade monthly marijuana use. Monthly marijuana use for eighth graders in Indiana is higher than the national average that was reported by the Monitoring the Future Survey.

Tobacco Survey

Tobacco use among twelfth graders had an upward trend, especially smokeless tobacco. The increase was of 4.2 percentage points for twelfth graders lifetime and past month usage. Experts state that the decline in cigarette tobacco use continues, and is great; the increase in smokeless tobacco still can negatively affect teenagers. Smokeless tobacco exposes teenagers to harmful carcinogenic elements of tobacco. This movement towards smokeless tobacco is even more dangerous to those who abuse it in conjunction with cigarettes because it increases their exposure to the highly addictive drug nicotine. Tobacco companies are using their old tricks to lure new, younger clients. They use small, hard to detect products, so that young teens can use without increased danger of being exposed. The also make the packaging more appealing to a younger based clientele. These products are also advertised to have fewer chemicals and be great for those attempting to quit.

Alcohol Survey

Over their lifetime, the use of alcohol has declined for teenagers between sixth and twelfth graders. Lifetime rates of lifetime alcohol use for sixth graders from 1993 to today have declined from 37.8 percent to 17.4 percent. The rates for twelfth graders reduced from 85 percent to 65.4 percent. Researchers are still unhappy with the results because there has not been any reduction in binge drinking among teenagers; when binge drinking is defined as has more than five drinks in one sitting over the last two weeks. Binge drinking is very serious and the leading cause of unintentional injuries like car crashes, or intentional injuries including sexual assault, violence and alcohol poisoning.

Top Reasons for Teenage Drinking
The top reasons that these surveyed teens used for drinking were ‘to have a good time’, ‘to experiment’, ‘because it tastes good’, and ‘to relax or relieve tension’. While alcohol consumption still remains relatively high for teenagers from sixth to twelfth grade the majority of adolescents in sixth to ninth grade had no reports of alcohol consumption. It is important to understand the reasons adolescents are turning towards alcohol, by understanding their motives society can have a better chance to remedy them. It is essential to understand that, even young children take notice to their parent’s behaviors. Parents who consistently drink with friends, carry-on late into the evening, and over indulge in alcoholic beverages can pass that type of behavior to their children. Those individuals who come home from work and start the evening with a drink teach their children the way they relieve stress. Therefore, parents should practice more responsible drinking habits.

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