More teens are smoking dope, with nearly 1 in 10 lighting up at least 20 or more times a month, says a new survey of young people reported by the Associated Press. The report by The Partnership at Drugfree.org said abuse of prescription medicine may be easing a bit among young people in grades 9 through 12, but still remains high. Partnership President Steve Pasierb says the mindset among parents is that it’s just a little weed or a few pills — no biggie. “Parents are talking about cocaine and heroin, things that scare them,” said Pasierb. “Parents are not talking about prescription drugs and marijuana. They can’t wink and nod. They need to be stressing the message that this behavior is unhealthy.”
Use of harder drugs — cocaine and methamphetamine — has stabilized, the survey showed. Past-month usage of marijuana grew from 19 percent in 2008 to 27 percent last year. Also alarming, says Pasierb, is the percentage of teens smoking pot 20 or more times a month. That rate went from 5 percent in 2008 to 9 percent last year, or about 1.5 million teens toking up that frequently. The marijuana findings track closely with those in a recent University of Michigan study sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health. That study also found marijuana use rising among teens the past few years, reversing a long decline in the previous decade.