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Teen Marijuana Use Gets Higher

A major survey shows a significant rise in teen marijuana use over the past three years.

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By May Wilkerson

05/02/12

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More and more teens are getting more and more stoned, according to a survey released today by The Partnership at Drugfree.org. The survey of 3,322 high school students shows the number of teens who smoked pot in the past month at 27%—a steep rise from 19% in 2008. The rate of heavy marijuana use has also doubled in three years; nearly one in 10 teens now get blazed 20 times a month or more—and this group is much more likely to abuse alcohol and other drugs, like cocaine, meth or painkillers. But overall, teen use of "hard drugs" seems to have plateaued, and abuse of painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycontin has also remained stable. Not that parents of teenagers should chill out any time soon: "Dramatic increases in teen marijuana use, coupled with entrenched behavior of abuse of Rx and OTC drugs, puts teens at greater risk for substance use disorders, academic decline and other problems," warns Partnership President Steve Pasierb. He takes parents to task for complacency over substance use, warning that a little weed can pave the way for other risky behaviors: "Parents are not talking about prescription drugs and marijuana. They can't wink and nod. They need to be stressing the message that this behavior is unhealthy." The survey shows a drop in parents safeguarding alcohol and Rx stashes at home—and a spike in parents' own substance use. 15% of parents admit to using an unprescribed Rx drug at least once in the past year—that's a 25% increase since 2010.

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