Encouraging News from Monitoring the Future


Revealing the results of the annual

Use of most substances in 2015 continued their flat or downward trends seen in recent years–many dropping to the lowest levels in the history of the survey. This is true of both alcohol and cigarette use, for example. Fewer 12th graders than ever (17.2 percent) reported binge drinking (five or more drinks on a single occasion in the past two weeks) and fewer than ever (37.7 percent) reported being drunk in the past year. Among seniors, 5.5 percent reported daily cigarette smoking, down from 6.7 percent a year ago and 24.6 percent at its peak in 1997. This decline in cigarette use means that, for the first time, fewer seniors are daily cigarette smokers than are daily marijuana users.

Use of inhalants, traditionally a concern in the youngest age groups, was at its lowest levels ever, and the drop in lifetime use of these substances since last year’s survey was significant among 8th and 10th graders (9.4 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively, down from 10.8 percent and 8.7 percent last year). Use of synthetic cannabinoids (sometimes called “synthetic marijuana”) has decreased in all age grades surveyed since 2012, when the survey first started tracking use of these drugs. Non-medical use of prescription pain relievers was down significantly from five years ago and heroin use was at its lowest levels in the history of the survey –a bright spot in the current opioid crisis that continues to strongly affect other age groups. However, while unchanged since last year, non-medical use of the prescription stimulant Adderall remains high (7.5 percent of 12th graders and 5.2 percent of 10th graders reported non-medical use of this medication).

It was also reassuring to —> Read More