The 21st Annual Survey of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use did not reveal encouraging statistics regarding marijuana use among teens in Indiana. While the number of students who consumed alcohol went down, those who admitted to using marijuana and smokeless tobacco went up, based on the survey results.
The study was conducted by the Indiana Prevention Resource Center (IPRC) at IU-Bloomington. The results, which were released on Wednesday, indicated an increase in reported marijuana use among 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders.
The survey was conducted among 168,801 students in both public and private schools in Indiana.
Courtney Stewart, a research associate at IPRC and coordinator of research and translation, shared: “I think what we have focused in on this year and last year is an increase in marijuana use… The good news is, we’re seeing an overall decrease in alcohol use.” Stewart attributed the decline to statewide programs that zeroed in on underage drinking: “I think the prevention programs in Indiana that are in place, they have been successful as far as alcohol use.”
The same thing could not be said, however, for marijuana use. Stewart gave the opinion that the upward trend and seeming popularity of marijuana may have stemmed from the attention being placed by the media on the legalization of medical pot: “It’s the perception of harm and risk… With medical marijuana, a lot of youth might think, ‘Hey, its OK, doctors are prescribing it. It’s OK to use it.’”