NEW YORK: The University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Study (MTF), an annual survey tracking teen drug abuse among approximately 45,000 8th-, 10th- and 12th- graders, shows some positive inroads and encouraging news in substance use trends among American youth. The new survey data show a continued long-term decline in the use of many substances, including alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, Ecstasy, as well as the misuse of some prescription medications, among 8th- 10th-, and 12th graders. The MTF survey is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: “HHS finds heavy marijuana use soaring among young people,” the press release from Project SAM, the nation’s leading anti-marijuana legalization group, said. “Today, the Department of Health and Human Services found that heavy marijuana use among monthly users – defined as 20 or more days of marijuana use per month – significantly increased among 12-to-17 year-olds in 2014 compared to 2013.”
Alarming findings indeed — but untrue.
Here are the actual numbers (highlighted below), which appear in data fromthe latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which just came out this week. In 2013, roughly 451,000 teens smoked marijuana 20 or more days per month. In 2014, that number dropped to 400,000, according to the survey’s estimates. That number is, in fact, the lowest it’s been since at least 2009.
That drop is not statistically significant, according to the survey. In other words, the number of kids smoking 20-plus days per month is essentially flat year-over-year, and has been for awhile. So how did Project SAM go from that to “heavy marijuana use soaring among young people?” It turns out they were looking at the wrong part of the report.