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Drug Use Decrease 'Heartening'

Information Is the Key, Valkow Says

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Updated May 19, 2010

"The overall reduction in drug use by America's young people is heartening," said National Institute of Drug Abuse Director, Dr. Nora Volkow. "We are confident that our concerted effort to provide students and teachers with informative, accurate information about addiction and drug abuse will contribute to further reductions in drug use."

"Monitoring the Future has been tracking substance use and related attitudes among American teenagers for nearly 30 years," said Lloyd Johnston, the study's lead researcher. "Because its methods have been scientifically rigorous, and intentionally held constant across time, its results have proven to be quite accurate and reliable."

In addition, lifetime and current use of cigarettes declined among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders between 2001 and 2003. Lifetime alcohol use by all three grades also declined over the past two years, suggesting that teens do not trade one intoxicating substance for another.

The Monitoring the Future survey is designed to measure drug, alcohol, and cigarette use and related attitudes among adolescent students nationwide. Survey participants report their drug use behaviors across three time periods: lifetime, past year, and past month. Overall, 48,467 students from 392 public and private schools in the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades participated in this year's survey. The survey is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of HHS' National Institutes of Health, and conducted since its inception by the University of Michigan. Information from this survey helps the nation to identify potential drug problem areas and ensure that resources are targeted to areas of greatest need.

Monitoring the Future is one of three major HHS-sponsored surveys that provide data on substance use among youth. Its website is monitoringthefuture.org.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), sponsored by HHS' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is the primary source of statistical information on illicit drug use in the U.S. population 12 years of age and older. Formerly known as the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, the survey collects data in household interviews, currently using computer-assisted self-administration for drug-related items. More information is available at www.samhsa.gov.

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), part of HHS' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, is a school survey that collects data from students in grades 9-12. The survey includes questions on a wide variety of health-related risk behaviors, not simply drug abuse. More information is available at www.cdc.gov. More information on Monitoring the Future can be found at www.hhs.gov; or www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov.

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