The latest national Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey found a huge falloff in teens' recalled exposure to drug abuse prevention messages over the past seven years. The new data from the MTF study have been released at a time when teens themselves report finding the drug-prevention messages to be effective.
Comparing 2003, the year in which kids and teens' recalled exposure to national drug prevention messages peaked, to today, the proportion of 8th graders that reported daily/or more often exposure dropped from 54 percent to 18 percent, a dramatic decrease of two-thirds among the youngest group surveyed. Similar declines occurred among 10th graders (50 percent in 2003 to 17 percent in 2010) and 12th graders (32 percent to 10 percent).
"If they don't get those messages, teens will come to view drug use as less dangerous than their predecessors did and that misconception will leave them vulnerable to having their own epidemics of drug abuse. In fact, we are already seeing these signs beginning to happen now for teen use of drugs like marijuana, Ecstasy and LSD," said Lloyd Johnston, the principal investigator of the study.