Teen drug abuse, drinking and smoking are down, reports the annual Monitoring the Future Study. Despite the spreading legalization of marijuana, pot use declined for eighth- and 10th-graders and plateaued for 12th-graders.
Adolescents may be replacing addictive substances with addictive video games guessed Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “The development of very, very fancy video games has resulted in a pattern of compulsive use of these games that may serve as a substitute for drug-taking,” she said in an interview. “I’m speculating, but it needs to be tested.”
Reason’s Scott Shackford mocks the idea that teens must be addicted to something.
Volkow’s “speculation” made headlines, he writes. “If one panic gets disproven, look for another where the information is spotty to call for more research.” And more funding.
He warns: “The desire to study ‘addiction’ has embedded in its subconsciousness a desire to find a problem.”
Prohibitionists had predicted legalizing marijuana would encourage teens to try it, writes Jacob Sullum, also on Reason. The survey shows no link between medical or recreational marijuana legalization and adolescent use.