Alcohol and marijuana use among
teens is on the rise, ending a decade-long decline, a study being
released Tuesday found.
"I'm a little worried that we may be seeing the leading edge of a trend here," said Sean Clarkin, director of strategy at The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, which was releasing the study. "Historically, you do see the increase in recreational drugs before you see increases in some of the harder drugs."
The annual "Partnership Attitude Tracking Study" (PATS) found the number of teens in grades 9 through 12 who reported drinking alcohol in the last month rose 11 percent last year, with 39 percent — about 6.5 million teens — reporting alcohol use. That's up from 35 percent, or about 5.8 million teens, in 2008.
For pot, 25 percent of teens reported smoking marijuana in the last month, up from 19 percent.
Until last year, those measures for pot and alcohol use
had been on a steady decline since 1998, when use hovered around 50
percent of teens for alcohol and 27 percent for pot.
The study also found use of the party drug Ecstasy on the rise. Six percent of teens surveyed said they used Ecstasy in the past month, compared with 4 percent in 2008.
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