Monitoring the Future

By Christy Posted December 12, 2008 under

Yesterday, the National Institute on Drug Abuse released its annual Monitoring the Future survey results. This ongoing study examines drug, tobacco and alcohol use among high school students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grade, and also serves as one of the most authoritative sources of information on the prevalence of cough medicine abuse among our teens.

This year’s results revealed that cough medicine abuse has decreased 0.6 percent among eighth graders and 1.3 percent among twelfth graders. This is truly good news!

It isn’t a time to rest, though, in the fight against dextromethorphan abuse. Monitoring the Future also revealed that abuse has remained the same among high school sophomores. While the overall results of this survey indicate our shared success, it is clear that we still have work ahead of us.

We believe that the best way to continue our fight against this behavior is to talk about it with friends and family. Given these new statistics, you now have a great way to get that conversation going. The more people we can educate about cough medicine abuse, the greater chance we have at putting a stop to the problem.

Most importantly, never forget that stopping cough medicine abuse begins at home: Continue to talk to your teens about the dangers of this behavior. With winter vacation approaching, the time you spend as a family is the perfect opportunity to do so. Last month, Julie wrote about volunteering as a great way to spend time together, and many soup kitchens and shelters continue to need help throughout the holiday season.

Julie also shared some great tips about reaching your teen in her article “Back to School, Back to Pressure” and you can find more resources in my September article.

We hope that, as the New Year approaches, you continue to help us raise awareness about teen cough medicine abuse. Monitoring the Future  this year shows us positive trends in keeping kids drug-free, and we look forward to seeing how much more we can accomplish with your help over the next year.