Thursday, April 26, 2012

2012 National Drug Control Strategy

Earlier this month, the Office of National Drug Control Policy released the 2012 National Drug Control Strategy.  There are a few items from the strategy that I will share through this blog and I thought I'd start with the introduction to the chapter entitled, "Strengthen Efforts to Prevent Drug Use in Our Communities".

Youth illicit drug use up since 2006
 . . . while overall youth drug use did not statistically change between 2010 and 2011, past-month use of any illicit drug among 10th graders increased from 16.8% in 2006 to 19.2% in 2011.  

Youth marijuana use up
Marijuana typically drives the trends in estimates of any illicit drug use, and, accordingly, past-month use of marijuana among 10th graders increased from 14.2% in 2006 to 17.6% in 2011.  

Perception of risk down
In addition, there continues to be a decline in the perceived risk of marijuana use among teens.  This is troubling, as research shows drug use trends among youth typically increase one to two years after a weakening of the perceived danger of using drugs.  

Few prevention messages
One possible influence on this observed trend in drug use and perception of risk is the decreased exposure of youth to prevention messages and the presence of messages and policies that downplay the consequences of drug use.  

Legalization not the answer to youth drug use
The Administration also recognizes that legalizing marijuana would not provide the answer to any of the health, social, youth education, criminal justice, and community quality of life challenges associated with drug use. 

The paragraph from which this information came is heavy with citations.  To view the citations, the strategy is available online and the excerpt above appears on page 5.

For additional information about youth marijuana use:

-- I blogged about local youth marijuana use data earlier this month.  Statewide data about youth marijuana use are available through the Healthy Youth Survey website.

-- The University of Washington's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute's website contains multiple science-based fact sheets about marijuana.

-- The American Academy of Pediatrics published an article about Marijuana Legalization: The Potential Impact on Youth.

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