A latest national study released on Tuesday has found that only fewer teenagers in the United States are now smoking cigarettes or consuming alcohol in at least last 40 years, but the use of many illicit drugs remains steady among them.
The study was conducted by the researchers at the University of Michigan under the Monitoring the Future program, which is used by the federal health officials to keep a track on the data on youth substance abuse.
Highlighting about the study’s findings, principal investigator Lloyd Johnston, said, “There is a lot of good news in this year’s results, but the problems of teen substance use and abuse are still far from going away.”
For the study, the researchers involved around 40,000 to 50,000 students in grades 8, 10 and 12 in 400 schools and surveyed them about their smoking, drinking and drug addiction habits.
Researchers believe a growing peer rejection is likely to be a top factor that triggered the drop in smoking and drinking this year.
Out of the total teenagers surveyed, only 41 percent said they consumed alcohol. The figure for this year was down from a peak of 61 percent reported in 1997. The study also found a sharp decline in binge drinking.
Similarly, only 8 percent of the participants said they smoked cigarettes. This was down from a peak of 28 percent in 1997.
Researchers noted that both the consumption of alcohol and cigarette smoking was at their lowest in the history of the survey that started in 1975.
The study also showed a drop in the use of some popular illicit drugs, like ecstasy and synthetic marijuana, among the teens. But the use of drugs like cocaine, heroin and crystal methamphetamine was found unchanged in the past two years.
The participants who were surveyed also gave mixed response about the prescription drugs abuse. While the use of narcotic painkiller OxyContin was reported less, the use of stimulants Adderall and Ritalin remained steady. Nearly 5.8 percent of high school seniors this year reported using marijuana on daily or near-daily basis. This is down from 6.5 percent reported last year.