After a decade of consistent declines in teen drug abuse, a new study by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and MetLife Foundation points to marked upswings in use of drugs that teens are likely to encounter at parties and in other social situations. The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study said grade 9-12 students using alcohol in the past month has risen by 11 percent (from 35 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2009), past year Ecstasy use shows a 67 percent increase (from 6 percent in 2008 to 10 percent in 2009) and past year marijuana use rose 19 percent increase (from 32 percent in 2008 to 38 percent in 2009).
The data mark a reverse in the remarkable, sustained declines in several drugs of abuse among teens: methamphetamine was down by over 60 percent and past month alcohol and marijuana use had decreased a full 30 percent over the past decade from 1998-2008. The survey sponsors said that underlying the increases are shifts in teen attitudes, particularly a growing belief in the benefits and acceptability of drug use and drinking. The percent of teens agreeing that “being high feels good” increased from 45 in 2008 to 51 in 2009, while those saying “friends usually get high at parties” increased from 69 percent to 75 percent.