The report was issued Thursday.
Monitoring the Future: National Results on Adolescent Drug Use, finds that marijuana and alcohol use has declined while the abuse of painkillers such as Vicodin and Oxycontin has increased among teens.
Much of the drug use among the young is seen in white middle-class families.
“There is a preconception that this is a problem of minority youth, and that is not true,” said Dr. Wilson M. Compton, director of the Division of Epidemiology Services and Prevention Research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Some ten percent of high school seniors say they have used Vicodin. 4.7 percent report they have used Oxycontin in the past year.
Ecstasy, a stimulant drug, was found to have increased in use by both 10th and 12th graders, while the perceived risk of the drug declined.
Teen drug abuse includes primarily prescription drugs or over-the-counter meds such as cough syrup.
Compton tells US News the fact that 15.4 percent of 12th graders report they’ve used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons last year, “remarkable and very worrisome.”
Friends and family often supply the drugs.
Meanwhile drug use among 10th graders has declined significantly the report shows.
Among high school seniors the decline in the use of marijuana has slowed. Marijuana use has reportedly declined since the mid-1990s.
And cigarette smoking is at its lowest level among teens than ever recorded by this survey, which has been conducted for the past 33 years.
Still, one in ten seniors smokes. 5.4 percent smoke more than a half pack of cigarettes a day.
The rate of alcohol consumption is slowing. Yet 25 percent of the seniors responding said they’ve had five or more drinks in a row over the past two weeks before the survey.
In all, nearly half of high school seniors will have tried an illegal drug before they graduate.
The research is done by the University of Michigan which collected data from more than 46,000 students in the eighth, tenth and 12th grades from 386 private and public schools. #