Teen Drug Trends Survey: K2 Losing Popularity, But Illicit Drug Use on the Upswing

Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment points out the latest results from the Monitoring the Future study funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) show synthetic marijuana (marketed as K-2, Spice, etc.), which has been of increasing concern because of its adverse effects and high rates of use, is losing its appeal with teens. Conversely, teen drug trend data indicates overall illicit drug use is trending upward—which is being driven by marijuana.

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Teen drug trends marijuana K2

The latest study on teen drug trends shows marijuana, teens drug of choice, is driving up overall illicit drug use while use of synthetic marijuana or K2 is decreasing.

“This encouraging news regarding synthetic marijuana usage reflects a substantial win for the future health and well-being of American teens and families," says Michael Darcy, President & CEO, Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment.

Chicago (PRWEB) February 27, 2014

Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment points out the latest Monitoring the Future study shows synthetic marijuana (marketed as K-2, Spice, etc.), which has been of increasing concern because of its adverse effects and high rates of use, is losing its appeal with teens. Conversely, teen drug trend data indicates overall illicit drug use is trending upward—which is being driven by marijuana.

These are the latest findings from the University of Michigan’s annual study funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Since 1991, the Monitoring the Future study has annually surveyed 40,000 to 50,000 U.S. secondary school students to help shed a light on teen alcohol and drug use.

The Good News
The second-most popular illicit drug used in 2012 among 10th and 12th graders (after marijuana) is dropping in popularity today. In 2013, there was a highly statistically significant fall in use of K2 and Spice among high school seniors, and a significant decrease for three combined grades. According to the 2013 Monitoring the Future study:

  • Among 12th graders: 11.3 percent used K2 in 2012, which dropped to 7.9 percent in 2013.
  • Among 10th graders: 8.8 percent used K2 in 2012, which decreased to 7.4 percent in 2013.
  • Among 8th graders: 4.4 percent used K2 in 2012, which declined to 4.0 percent in 2013.

“This encouraging news regarding synthetic marijuana usage reflects a substantial win for the future health and well-being of American teens and families. It also validates how concerted efforts from local, state and national governments in cooperation with the private sector can positively affect public safety in a relatively short period of time,” says Michael Darcy, President & CEO, Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment.

Likewise, research shows a sharply increasing proportion of teens in all three grades see great risk in using so-called “bath salts,” often described as “fake cocaine.” In a single year, the percent indicating that occasional use of bath salts carries great risk of harm has risen by 13, 17 and 25 percentage points in grades 8, 10 and 12, respectively.

The Bad News
The proportions of students indicating any use of an illicit drug in the prior 12 months are:

  • Among 8th graders: 15 percent in 2013 compared to 13.5 percent in 2012.
  • Among 10th graders: 32 percent in 2013 compared to 30.4 percent in 2012.
  • Among 12th graders: 40 percent in 2013 compared to 39.4 percent in 2012.

For teens who struggle with substance abuse issues, Gateway Foundation offers specialized alcohol and drug treatment programs while instilling healthy coping skills to assist teens with the challenging transition into adulthood. To learn more about Gateway’s free, confidential consultation, call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment
Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers provide substance abuse treatment services for teens and adults at drug treatment centers throughout Illinois and the St. Louis Metro East area. Gateway’s outpatient and residential treatment centers are licensed by the state of Illinois and accredited by The Joint Commission. Each year, Gateway’s professional clinicians help thousands of individual's successfully complete treatment. To learn more about Gateway, visit RecoverGateway.org.

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