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2022 United States Youth Substance Use Trends

Newly released data from the 2022 Monitoring the Future Survey revealed that amongst youth in the United States, the overall reported substance use throughout the past year has been steady or significantly less than substance use before the 2020 COVID pandemic. The Monitoring the Future Survey is a national survey that is published annually with questions related to behavior, attitude, and substance use. The self-reporting survey is given to 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in public and private schools throughout the United States. 31,438 students completed the survey and the top 3 substances used by students within the past year were alcohol, nicotine vaping, and marijuana.

  • Alcohol – Among 8th and 10th graders, alcohol use remained the same compared to 2021. For 12th graders, there was an increase in alcohol use from 47 % in 2021 to 52 % in 2022.

  • Nicotine vaping – 12 % of 8th graders, 20.5 % of 10th graders, and 27.3 % of 12th graders vape nicotine which is consistent with the percentages from 2021. For 12th graders, there has been the largest decrease of vaping nicotine from 35 % in 2020 to 27 % in 2021, which has held steady through 2022.

  • Marijuana – Amid 8th grade responders, marijuana was the top substance used. Overall, its use decreased from 2021 to 2022, however for 8th, 10th, and 12th graders who live in medical marijuana approved states, there was an increase in marijuana use and a decrease in disapproval and risk beliefs towards the drug. Furthermore, 6 % of 8th graders, 15 % of 10th graders, and 20.6 % of 12th graders reported vaping marijuana within the past year.

In addition, among 12th graders, there has been an alarming rise in the past 30-day use of cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin, along with an increase in the past 12-month use of prescription opioids. Recent studies have suggested a surge in overdose deaths in the high school age group primarily due to fentanyl. References

  • 2022, December 15. Most reported substance use among adolescents held steady in 2022. Retrieved from on 2022, December 20

  • Miech, R. A., Johnston, L. D., Patrick, M.E., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E., (2023). Monitoring the Future National Survey Results on Drug Use, 1975–2022: Secondary School Students. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan. Available at monographs/

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