After 10 years of steady decline, teen drug use, specifically the use of marijuana, alcohol, and ecstasy, has increased since 2008, according to a survey by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and the MetLife Foundation.
Researchers asked 2,544 high schoolers about their drug use in 2010 and found that 39 percent of high school students had drunk alcohol in the past month, 10 percent had used ecstasy in the past year, and 38 percent had used marijuana in the past year.
Between 1998 and 2008, the number of teens who reported using alcohol or marijuana fell 30 percent. According to the 2010 survey, almost two thirds of students who said they drink alcohol had their first full drink by age 15, and about one fourth had their first drink by age 12.
Steve Pasierb, president of The Partnership at Drugfree.org, said the budget cuts to drug awareness programs could be to blame for the turnaround.
"We are troubled, but not completely surprised, by these numbers because, in schools and communities across the country, support for drug education and prevention programs has been cut drastically due to budgetary pressures," he said in a statement. "A heavier burden is placed squarely on the shoulders of parents, who need to take an active role in preventing substance abuse in their families."
A 2009 study by the National Center for Education Statistics found that 22 percent of public high school students were offered, sold, or given drugs at school.
The Drugfree.org study also asked students which drugs carried a "great risk" for regular use. Most students agreed crack, powdered cocaine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy use were dangerous, but just 50 percent of students said regular marijuana use was dangerous, and 45 percent said they did not see a "great risk" in drinking five or more drinks per day.