Advertisement
Drugs

Teens Don't Party Like They Used to, Study Says

The number of teenagers using drugs, drinking, or smoking is at the lowest it's been since 1990.

by Lauren Messman
Dec 13 2016, 6:00pm

Following the millennial trend of not taking part in anything fun anymore, teenagers are apparently getting drunk and high way less than previous generations, according to a new Monitoring the Future study from the University of Michigan.

Every year, researchers at the University of Michigan conduct a survey of about 45,000 eighth, tenth, and 12th grade students to understand teen drug use. This year, the study found that the number of teenagers using drugs, drinking, or smoking cigarettes is the lowest it's been since 1990.

Tobacco use specifically has declined sharply in the past two decades—from 11 percent smoking half a pack a day in 1991 to only 1.8 percent in 2016. E-cigarette use is down, too, from 16 percent in 2015 to just 12 percent this year.

Although annual use of marijuana has stayed pretty much the same for tenth and 12th graders, it's been steadily dropping for eighth graders from 11.8 percent in 2015 to 9.4 percent in 2016. Alcohol use and binge drinking have declined for all three grades surveyed, too.

It's not totally clear what's causing the decline, but some researchers think teens are just not going to parties as often as they were before—possibly spending more time on their viral promposal or perfecting their Instagram profile.

"There may be a protective effect brought about by the fact that they don't have so many occasions to get together where the use of drugs would be facilitated," Nora Volko, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, told USA Today. "It's wonderful to see, but understanding it will be very important because then we can try to emulate it, be proactive, and try to sustain it."