Primary Care Physician
Dr. Orrange received her BA in Biology at the University of California, San Diego, and a Masters Degree in Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. She received her MD from the USC Keck School of…
New Studies Reveal Teenagers are Drinking Less, and Using Marijuana More
Posted in Parenting Teena... by Dr. Sharon Orrange on Dec 29, 2011
2011 brought some interesting news from American teens. Daily cigarette smoking and binge drinking among American teenagers declined over the past year, but pot smoking and the abuse of prescription drugs remain a problem.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) announced the survey findings which found that daily cigarette use has continued to drop in the past year: 2% of 8th graders, 6% of 10th graders, and 10% of 12th graders reported daily smoking.

Alcohol use and binge drinking rates also dropped significantly in teens over the last 5 years.

What we swapped this for was an increase in the use of marijuana among teens which climbed in 2011 for the fourth straight year. In 2011, 12% of 8th graders, 29% of 10th graders, and 36% of 12th graders reported past-year use of marijuana. In the past 5-years there have been increases in daily, current, and past-year marijuana use by 10th and 12th graders.

These increases are believed to be because of the decline in the perceived risk associated with marijuana use.

“Spice” or K2, a synthetic marijuana, was also more common among high school seniors. Just this year the DEA deemed many of the chemicals used in K2 as unsafe, and at least 18 states have banned synthetic marijuana.

The tragedy of 2011 is that prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications account for most of the drugs abused by 12th grade students in the past year. Levels of OxyContin, amphetamine (Adderall, etc.) and Vicodin abuse increased. With good news, comes some bad news.


Dr O.
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To whoever said "We studied hard for tests, did our homework, fretted about social lives or lack thereof, cried ourselves to sleep on our pillows or cried on our best friends' shoulders. But we didn't do alcohol or illegal drugs. Most of us went on to college, and we survived."

What is your point exactly? All these things can be said of people who use illegal drugs and I am speaking from personal experience.
By Spiky  May 22, 2012
Agree with Bamb00. This is good news. Marijuana is becoming more and more accepted by the medical establishment for its positive uses. It is not physically damaging nor chemically addictive.

I admit there are some negatives aspects to marijuana. It is, like many drugs, habit-forming. There are certain risks people are willing to take when drugs are clouding their judgement (this is of course true of any controlled substance). It does cause some functional impairment while under the influence. Short-term memory is compromised if it's used regularly. It can cause mood swings and paranoia, which can complicate any existing mental health conditions.

Consider that alcohol IS physically and psychologically addictive, poisonous, can cause long-term liver damage resulting in death, and drunk driving still claims millions of lives. I still find marijuana to be a preferable alternative to booze.
By Spiky  May 22, 2012
Thanks for your compliment!
By johnlasseter  Mar 14, 2012
Kinda makes me wonder how my friends and I survived those years of angst and sturm und drang. We didn't smoke, we didn't drink, we may have taken the occasional aspirin for a headache (with parental permission). We studied hard for tests, did our homework, fretted about social lives or lack thereof, cried ourselves to sleep on our pillows or cried on our best friends' shoulders.

But we didn't do alcohol or illegal drugs. Most of us went on to college, and we survived. Why can't today's kids do the same?
By madbookworm  Dec 31, 2011
This is actually good news, the kids are risking arrest and incarceration from their cannabis use as opposed to liver damage , stomache and esophageal cancers, and brain damage from alcohol use.
We cannot make the alcohol non poisonous or a non carcinogen. We can however change the laws which for now are the single most dangerous issue with marijuanna use.
By Bamb00  Dec 31, 2011
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