The 2015 Monitoring the Future survey from the National Institute of Health has shown that teen drug trends and substance abuse among adolescents has stayed stable or even declined some from past years. This survey showed that there was a decrease among the use of synthetic marijuana, tobacco, prescription pain medications, and alcohol in the last year by teens in the USA. Other types of substance abuse did not decline but these forms also did not increase. Teens are still using marijuana at the previous rates though, and some suspect that this is due to changes in medical marijuana laws and the public perception that marijuana is less harmful.
The Monitoring the Future survey has been performed yearly since the first survey in 1975, and it is performed at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 2015 was the first year that teen drug trends showed more marijuana use than tobacco use, while other types of substance abuse among teens is down. NIDA director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. discussed the survey findings and stated “We are heartened to see that most illicit drug use is not increasing, non-medical use of prescription opioids is decreasing, and there is improvement in alcohol and cigarette use rates. However, continued areas of concern are the high rate of daily marijuana smoking seen among high school students, because of marijuana’s potential deleterious effects on the developing brains of teenagers, and the high rates of overall tobacco products and nicotine containing e-cigarettes usage.” Many blame medical and recreational marijuana laws and believe that this has caused teens to view this drug as harmless.