The National Institute on Drug Abuse released the results of its 2013 monitoring the future survey. The survey tracks drug trends for eighth, tenth and twelfth graders.
Inside the walls of any high school is a tremendous amount of peer pressure. However, a recent survey shows the pressure may be adding a positive force as the number of adolescents using substances is rapidly declining.
Mike McGinnis says, "There's been some decline in some substance use. For instance the use of tobacco products, the use of synthetics. Some of the prescription drug we've seen going down in our adolescent population."
And while these are certainly positive trends, there is one area that is causing concern for counselors like McGinnis.
McGinnis says, "The number of high school students who believe that regular use of marijuana can be harmful has dropped dramatically over the past 20 years. For the first times it's under 40 percent."
The problem? McGinnis says it's that some states are looking to legalize it and that adolescents don't see marijuana as harmful as other drugs, such as alcohol.
McGinnis says, "One of the questions I pose to our students over the past couple of years is if I told them that we had a student that was becoming intoxicated off of alcohol four or five times a week, many of them felt that was a lot. Generally the majority of the room has their hand up in the air. If I ask them, now if I told them a similar person who's becoming intoxicated off of marijuana four or five times a week, it is a lot–generally the numbers drop by half."
And while the debate over the legalization of marijuana is far from over, McGinnis says there is one fact that can't be disputed.
McGinnis says, "The fact that you're under the influence of any mood altering drug and your judgment is affected always poses a risk."
And his solution? Education and positive influence by peers and parents.