WASHINGTON — Teens are heeding the message to stay away from cocaine and cigarettes. But that’s not the case when it comes to marijuana.
An annual survey by the National Institute on Drug Use found the 60 percent of high school seniors don’t think regular pot use is harmful to their health.
More than a third of those surveyed admitted to smoking pot within the past 12 months.
Nearly 7 percent say they smoke marijuana daily. That’s nearly triple from what it was 20 years ago.
“This is not just an issue of increased daily use,” said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. “It is important to remember that over the past two decades, levels of THC – the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – have gone up a great deal, from 3.75 percent in 1995 to an average of 15 percent in today’s marijuana cigarettes. Daily use today can have stronger effects on a developing teen brain than it did 10 or 20 years ago.”
“These increases in marijuana use over the past few years are a serious setback in our nation’s efforts to raise a healthy generation of young people,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of National Drug Control Policy.
Researchers say going forward they’ll explore the link between teen drug use and states that allow medical marijuana.
Some teens report getting their hands on pot from someone else’s prescription.