For those who care about the lives of young people, some of the reports about drug use and attitudes are very encouraging. Teen drug use has gone down in the past few years–and not only that, teen approval of drug use has also gone down. The same holds true for smoking and alcohol use–according to the 2014 Monitoring the Future survey, 8th, 10th and 12th graders all report less usage of those and other substances.
Negative Teen Attitudes Toward Marijuana
One area where teens sometimes display negative attitudes is marijuana. It’s true that some teens have negative attitudes toward marijuana. Those attitudes break down in the following ways:
- Girls. Among high school seniors, it’s still the case that about ⅕ of all students surveyed have tried marijuana. But only 29% of that fifth are girls, and even though that’s a higher number of girls than in the past, it’s still the case that a vast majority of female teens have a negative attitude toward marijuana.
- Non-smokers. Teens who have chosen not to smoke usually don’t think too highly of pot, either. These are teens who care about their health, athletic performance, or their social standing.
- Spiritual or Religious. Teens with a strong religious base or spiritual foundation tend to have the strong family support that helps teens form their negative attitudes toward drugs. In addition, having a higher power helps teens focus on a moral compass that transcends their own emotions.
The Bad News
The news about drug use and drug disapproval by teens is encouraging, but there’s one area where the numbers aren’t quite so promising. Teen marijuana use held steady for years, not declining even when the use of alcohol or harder drugs did. This past year, marijuana use did decline very slightly, but some other elements of teens’ attitudes toward marijuana offset any benefits that decline might represent.
Attitudes of Teen Marijuana Users
One of these elements is the attitudes of teens who smoke marijuana themselves. They tend to look down on hard drugs such as cocaine, crack, and heroin, but they also tend to have a non-judgmental attitude toward party drugs such as ecstasy, LSD, and even meth.
Teen attitudes toward marijuana can vary depending on the teen’s background, experiences, and even their own substance use. And while not every piece of news about teen attitudes toward marijuana and other drugs is good, it’s ultimately true that teens have made a lot of progress in saying no to drugs.
If you know a teen who is struggling with marijuana addiction, the addiction help lines at Hired Power are available 24/7. Call us at 800-910-9299 for more information on how you can help teens overcome addiction.