Monitoring the future or what is called the (MTF) long term research that covers the American adolescent people, students, and adults up to 45 years of age. This study was started in 1975, where the University of Michigan carries out by the study. Frequent assessment and reassessment is required on the substance use by American young people. Some of the drugs like smoking, drinking together with illicit drug use were leading in the number of deaths since mid-1960s. Study design & methods are going to be discussed in this paper, as well as the overview of key findings, to look at the way forward for this problem in the US youths.
Study Design and Methods Surveys are carried out annually, in both the public and private high schools in the US are done in monitoring the future. The survey was done on the 8th, 10th and 12th graders. The year 2007 was the 33rd survey done for the 12th graders. On the same year, the 8th and 10th graders had their 17th survey too, t determine the usage of the drugs. Sample Sizes In 2007, this is how the samples were: 8th graders 16,500; 10th graders 16,400; 12th graders 15,100. 403 secondary schools were represented, and 48,000 students participated.
Each level is issued with multiple questionnaire forms, but all the forms do not cover all the questions, thus they may be fewer than the overall sample size. Field Procedures Questionnaires are presented to the students in their classes in a certain class time. Students’ parents and guardians usually have the chance to be told in advance about the exercise, where they may refuse for their child/children to participate. It is a voluntary exercise, where the questionnaires are done individually, then formatted ready for optical scanning.
For the 8th graders, their questionnaires were usually anonymous while those ones for the 12th graders are confidential. This is to allow for follow-up surveys later when the students have left high school. Their identity is protected and that of their data too. A review and approval of all the procedures is done annually so that they would comply with the federal procedures for treatment of human matters. Measures Except for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, a definite set of 3questions is applied to look at the levels the various drugs are being used.
For example, some of the questions asked is on the number of occasions one has used a certain drug, (if any) for instance Marijuana, either in their lifetime, or recently like in the past year, or month. The scale used is between 0 to 40 or more. For the psychotherapeutic drugs, the students are asked to include only the use. For alcohol, they are asked three questions on usage, considering the last two weeks. The questions ask on the perceived risks in using these kinds of drugs enumerating their names and the possible risks.
Also, disapproval is measured by asking them if they approve the usage of the drug and the amount of usage too. They may approve or disapprove. The perceived availability of these drugs is measured by asking them how easily the drugs are available to them. Overview of Key Findings In the recent years, there have emerged cohort effects among the graders. Students from the same grader group together and use the drugs as a group, which may result in reaching the peaks. In the early 1990s, the 8th graders showed improvements in the illicit drug use, then a significant decline in use after 1996.
Use of some drugs like marijuana significantly reduced in 2007, only use of ecstasy has shown slight increase. Drugs Decreasing in Use Any illicit drug usage has decreased by four out of ten in the 8th graders since 1996. For the 10th and 12th graders, use of drugs has reduced by a quarter and 15% respectively. This reduce in drug taking is noticed in all grades. 8th graders reduced by 19%, the 10th graders by 36%, while the 12th graders by 47%. Usage of marijuana, amphetamines, Ritalin, methamphetamine, and crystal methamphetamine showed decline.
Drugs Holding Steady Some drugs did not show much change: LSD, cocaine, heroine, sedatives, and the club drugs, among others. These drugs showed to be constantly in use. Drugs Showing Signs of Increased Use. Ecstasy was reported to be the only drug that usage was high, but was minimal. This was noted in all grades in 2006 and 2007. Inhalants too showed some increase in usage. Over-the-Counter Cough and Cold Medicines Drugs containing dextromethorphan usually used for coughs and colds have been noted to be abused by the students to get high.
4 to 7% of students were reported to have used it in all the grades, especially the 12th graders. Implications for Prevention The perceived risks and benefits of a drug are specific to each drug. The problem is that the so called benefits of a drug spread faster than the risks. Every drug is dealt with individually and therefore generalization is not applicable. Once a new drug is discovered, the benefits over look the risks because it takes time to see the negatives. “Generational forgetting” Helps keep the Epidemic Going.
New drugs like nitrite inhalants in 1970s, keep on emerging while the old one become rediscovered like heroine, cocaine in 1990s. The rediscovering could be because the generation is new and the teenagers have forgotten their consequences since the last time they were in use. These drugs come back in usage by the students, thus a way of reminding them of their consequences should be implemented. Cigarettes and Alcohol 46% of students in America have smoked before the 12th grade, while 22% are smoking in the same grade.
Decrease of smokers has been reported in the past 10-11 years. In 1996, 8th and 10th graders reached its current peak, but by 2006 this had declined by 66 and 54% respectively. The fact that cigarettes were cheap could have contributed greatly to the usage. In 2007, smoking showed no decline in the 10th and 12th grades. Smokeless tobacco was also seen to decline in early 2000s, though seemed not the case for the upper graders. 72% of students have consumed alcohol by the end of high school, with 39% having tried by the 8th grade, and 55% of the 12th graders have ever being drunk.
Alcohol usage is reported to have declined compared to the 1980s Where are we now? The use of illicit drug is high in American young people, with 47% of them having used them by the time they finish high school. 28% have used inhalants by the 8th grade. Nevertheless, 72% of the students finished high school without using the illicit drug, while 58% did not use marijuana. Works Cited Johnston D. Lloyd; O’Malley M. Patrick. Monitoring the future National results on Adolescent drug use: Overview of Key Findings, 2007