2016 Monitoring the Future data on teens

The 2016 Monitoring the Future survey results on adolescents were released at the end of May.


Among the specific findings …


One in every 17 high school seniors smoked marijuana daily in 2016 – this is almost two 12th graders per classroom. One in 7 smoked marijuana daily for at least one month at some point in life.


One in 6 high school seniors had 5 or more drinks in a row at least once in the 2 weeks prior to the survey. More than 1 in 25 had 10 or more drinks in a row in the past 2 weeks – more than 1 per classroom. About 1 in 40 had 15 or more drinks in a row in the prior 2 weeks.


One in 20 high school seniors smoked at least 1 cigarette daily in 2016. About 1 in 11 had smoked in the last month.


Vaping has become popular in recent years and, in 2016, 1 in 8 high school seniors used an e-cigarette or similar device in the month prior to the survey.


Abuse of prescription drugs has declined in recent years, after being stubbornly high for a decade. Past-year use of sedatives was less than half (3%) in 2016 what it was in 2005 (7%). Annual use of tranquilizers is near the lowest level since 2001.


Perceived risk of marijuana (based on students’ perceptions of how harmful the drug is to users and others) has fallen substantially in recent years and may make young people more vulnerable to future marijuana use.


The survey results, including those for 8th and 10th graders, are covered in the freely available monograph Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975-2016: Volume I, Secondary school students.


The Monitoring the Future study is part of the Youth and Social Issues Program at the Institute for Social Research. It is in its 42nd year, with continuous funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.