Study: Teens not so stupid, after all

AP: Teens’ views on dangers of pot fall to 20-year-low

Teenagers’ perception of the dangers of marijuana has fallen to the lowest level in more than 20 years, a new study says, prompting federal researchers to warn that already high use of the drug could increase as more states move to legalize it.

Of course, the important question they neglected to address was whether teens perceptions of dangers were higher or lower than actual dangers. It may be that they’re just coming to a closer connection to reality as they reject the blatant propaganda that’s been shoveled at them for years.

And naturally, the administration is going to take this opportunity to make completely unfounded and irrelevant attacks against reform.

But then again, this is always a great day for the ONDCP and NIDA! As I tweeted earlier:

.@ONDCP loves drug data days. If # is down, proof drug war is working; if # is up, proof we need more drug war. Can’t lose.

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30 Responses to Study: Teens not so stupid, after all

  1. C.E. says:

    I wonder what the perception of the general population is?

    Of course, what really matters is how dangerous marijuana actually is (or isn’t). Unfortunately, no government source is reliable on that point any more. Our government has forfeited its credibility long ago. We have to look elsewhere for real information. Is it any wonder that teens don’t believe what the government is telling them?

  2. Paulie says:

    If teen pot use is rising and overall drug use (alcohol, tobacco, prescrip drugs, etc.) is declining, that’s a public safety success story turned into an alarmist AP story.

  3. Freeman says:

    Of course, the important question they neglected to address was whether teens perceptions of dangers were higher or lower than actual dangers.

    Probably because nobody in academia seems to be willing to make any effort to accurately quantify any actual dangers and document their work. The ones vocal about their work on the issue seem to prefer vague references to “self-reports that cannabis is a source of trouble in their lives” as opposed to any actual scientific investigation and documentation of fact.

  4. Francis says:

    Shouldn’t the full headline be: “Teens’ views on danger of pot fall to 20-year low – still ridiculously high”?

    The annual survey released Wednesday by the National Institutes of Health found that only 41.7 percent of eighth graders believe that occasional use of marijuana is harmful, while 66.9 percent regard it as dangerous when used regularly. Both rates are the lowest since 1991, when the government first began tracking this age group.

    The trend is certainly encouraging, but that’s a LOT of misinformed teens. Fortunately, with age comes wisdom:

    Teens’ perception of marijuana risks diminished even more as they got older. About 20.6 percent of 12th graders said that occasional use of pot is harmful. Roughly 44.1 percent believed that its regular use was detrimental, the lowest rate since 1979.

    That’s better. Yes, there are still some stragglers, but I’m hopeful that most of them will be able to catch up on their education in college.

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      I think it’s a real problem for us that half the kids who are successfully brainwashed into thinking pot is bad realized, by 12th grade, that things aren’t quite like that.

      Francis is right to point out that the kids are learning something more like the truth; but on the downside, they are also learning they’ve been lied to. I am concerned about the fruits those seeds of cynicism are likely to bear.

  5. Jose says:

    It should read some teens stop believing lies told to them by the federal government which is causing them to split into groups. The group that believes the government is mostly the brain dead Old Testament cool aid drinking teens.

  6. kaptinemo says:

    Reality: 1 Propaganda: 0

    Seriously, what do they expect? The kids never were stupid; they knew the game was rigged from the get-go. Every kid knows what the expected, acceptable responses are to fraudulent claims by people who can make their lives miserable on a whim. Kids knew waaaaaay back in the freakin’ 1960’s that the DrugWar was a crock. They may not have known the arcane minutiae, but they could sense the general shape of it…from the lies they were told about it.

    Honestly, when is this society going to stop lying to those who will someday have the responsibility to make decisions about that society’s welfare? How can they expect to make proper decisions if they’re being bombarded with lies rather than facts? Do we really want the kind of society populated by hundreds of millions of former children who’ve been taught by their own government that it’s okay to lie ‘for a good cause’? Do we want a Hobbesian ‘war of all-against-all’?

    That’s what the DrugWar will gift us with. A Machiavelli Nation.

  7. claygooding says:

    The reason teenagers perceptions of harm decrease as they get older is that they have already figured out that the government and people they depend on for protection(police) have lied to them about the harms of marijuana.

    It is sad that older Americans have lost their curiosity and although they are the first to agree that the government will lie to us about anything,,they bit the governments lies about marijuana hook,line and sinker,,and the government just keeps reeling them in.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      It took me about 5 minutes to understand that the propaganda used to demonize cannabis was a bald faced lie after I first chose to enjoy cannabis back in 1977.

      Conversely it took me just over 3 years to grasp that they weren’t lying about cocaine. If anything their warnings were understated in the extreme. Please take into account that the first time I tried that nasty shit was before the death of Len Bias. But I’ll wager dollars to dirt that still there are young people who jump to the untrue conclusion that because the powers that be are lying about cannabis that they’re also lying about other substances on the naughty lists. Cocaine especially because the people who have become problem users but haven’t yet quit are hiding behind a door peering through the peephole.

  8. claygooding says:

    Pete,,can you demand corrections from NIDA for this?

    “”among marijuana users 12 and older, 4.3 million had a marijuana abuse or addiction problem, according to clinical diagnostic criteria. “”

    We know there are not 4.3 million actual addicts and they are basing the count on court ordered treatments.

    • Peter says:

      guess its all based on that ” self re porting” when given a choice of jail or treatment

      • claygooding says:

        All of us should scan NIDA pamphlets,,there are several key points that could be challenged on accuracy including the claim that no clinical trials of the plant have been completed to prove it’s medical efficacy,,there is one at least and it showed that marijuana is medicine,,and with NIDA refusing any plant medical research they are the reason none exists.

    • Peter says:

      guess its all based on that ” self re porting” when given a choice of jail or treatment

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Even using the number of victims of Court ordered treatment the number is still overstated by a factor of at least 10. SAMHSA reports that in 2010 there were 1,903,005 in “treatment” for “addiction” to any substance. There were 353,271 in “treatment” for merrywanna “addiction”

      Give that 4.3 million claim a sniff. The odor is a dead giveaway that the number was pulled out of the prohibasites’ collective ass. It’s a pretty foul smell so you might want to consider just taking my word that it’s true or in the alternative make sure there’s a bucket/trash can/barf bag within reach because it stinks.


      Here it is on the verge of 2013 and the Feds haven’t even been able to count how many Americans were subjected to a drugs re-education program for 2011. I know they have computers, WTF is the problem?

      • claygooding says:

        I think the “clinical diagnostic criteria” is where there balloon number comes from but have no idea who sets them.
        Thought some could shed some light but I suspect it is “according to our opinion that use equals abuse”.

        • claygooding says:

          I founded another:

          “”According to statistics 15% of 12th graders admitted marijuana use within the last month.””

          Since statistics are based on voluntary submission of data they have no idea how many 12th graders used pot within 30 days or the last hour,,however,,they do have an accurate count of the 12th graders stupid enough to tell the government they smoke pot.

        • Duncan20903 says:


          When I was a schoolboy there were lots of us who considered torquing the adults to be good, clean fun. I’m sure given the opportunity we would have confessed to shooting up and then molesting the sheep just to watch the hats pop off their pointy little heads.

          But I must admit that I think the ONDCP’s claim that “D” students are 4 times more likely to admit doing drugs than are “A” students is probably accurate. The key word being admit.

        • claygooding says:

          Duncan,in my youth we also flaunted our disobedience eery chance we got however,,kids today are seeing a lot more danger for marijuana users than was occurring inmy young adult life,,when “dealing” was the dangerous part,,now even having knowledge of marijuana use will get you investigated,,it’s a different ballgame.

  9. Duncan20903 says:

    American Teens Are Less Likely than European Teens to Use Cigarettes and Alcohol

    The differences found between adolescent behaviors in the U.S. and Europe are dramatic, according to Lloyd Johnston, the principal investigator of the American surveys.

    About 27 percent of American students drank alcohol during the 30 days prior to the survey. Only Iceland was lower at 17 percent, and the average rate in the 36 European countries was 57 percent, more than twice the rate in the U.S.

    The proportion of American students smoking cigarettes in the month prior to the survey was 12 percent—again the second lowest in the rankings and again only Iceland had a lower rate at 10 percent. For all European countries the average proportion smoking was 28 percent, more than twice the rate in the U.S.

    …and now the other side of the coin:

    Use of illicit drugs is quite a different matter.

    The U.S. students tend to have among the highest rates of use of all of the countries. At 18 percent, the U.S. ranks third of 37 countries on the proportion of students using marijuana or hashish in the prior 30 days. Only France and Monaco had higher rates at 24 percent and 21 percent, respectively. The average across all the European countries was 7 percent, or less than half the rate in the U.S.

    American students reported the highest level of marijuana availability of all the countries and the lowest proportion of students associating great risk with its use—factors that may help to explain their relatively high rates of use here, according to Johnston.

    The U.S. ranks first in the proportion of students using any illicit drug other than marijuana in their lifetime (16 percent compared to an average of 6 percent in Europe) and using hallucinogens like LSD in their lifetime (6 percent vs. 2 percent in Europe). It also ranks first in the proportion reporting ecstasy use in their lifetime (7 percent vs. 3 percent in Europe), despite a sharp drop in their ecstasy use over the previous decade. American students have the highest the proportion reporting lifetime use of amphetamines (9 percent), a rate that is three times the average in Europe (3 percent). Ecstasy was seen as more available in the U.S. than in any other country.

    For some drugs, however, the lifetime prevalence rate in the U.S. was just about the average for the European countries, including inhalants (10 percent), cocaine (3 percent), crack (2 percent), heroin (1 percent) and anabolic steroids (1 percent).

    “Clearly the U.S. has attained relatively low rates of use for cigarettes and alcohol, though not as low as we would like,” Johnston said. “But the level of illicit drug use by adolescents is still exceptional here.”

    Source: University of Michigan

    Nahhh, no way could it possibly be that the US is using a strategy that actually works toward achieving the goal to minimize youth use of drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco while we’re apparently married to the use of an obviously failed strategy when it comes to minimize youth use of substances on the naughty list.

    I had no idea that the French are such dedicated fans of cannabis before reading the article linked above.

  10. allan says:

    from Leroy on the MAPtalk list, Calvina and friends have posted this:

    Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, announced that, in light of new laws in Colorado and Washington to legalize the possession of marijuana for personal use, the committee will examine options for federal marijuana policy during the next congressional session.

    Chairman Leahy failed to point out that voters in Washington and Colorado did not just legalize the possession of an ounce of marijuana for personal use – they also legalized the cultivation, distribution and retail sale of marijuana.

    Legalizing marijuana put Colorado and Washington in direct conflict with federal law. Keeping marijuana illegal is a U.S. treaty obligation under the 1961 International Convention on Narcotic Drugs and supported by the two other Conventions: the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Drugs and the 1988 Anti-Trafficking Convention. The U.S. was a prime mover of these multilateral treaties and largely responsible for signature ratification by virtually every other country in the world.

    Congress should not be looking for ways to amend federal law to accommodate states wishing to legalize illicit drugs. Instead they should be urging the executive branch to enforce our federal laws and international treaty obligations.

    Please click on the Take Action! link to send your senator a letter urging them to uphold our national drug laws and international treaties.

    It is wrong for individual states to make decisions that so profoundly affect the entire nation — and potentially the world.

    For more information on drug policy issues please visit</i.

    near the bottom of the page is a pre-written letter they are targeting to US Senators. The letter however is editable…

    • allan says:

      I only used the first and last paragraphs:

      As a concerned citizen, I am writing to urge you to support legislative proposals that would amend federal law to accommodate states that have legalized the possession, cultivation and retail sale of marijuana.

      Sound drug policy must be rooted in evidence-based science, not driven by special interest groups who support Prohibition at the expense of our nation’s public health and safety.

  11. ezrydn says:

    Had I not smoked grass while in college and law school, I’d have never made the Dean’s List EVERY Semester!

    • claygooding says:

      Probably a different list from the one I was on.

      Marijuana has to be the best stress relief out there.

  12. Duncan20903 says:


    They’re so worried that American youth is going to figure out that the prohibitionists are lying about cannabis (too late!) that they forgot to mention that the survey shows that youth use is down in most categories and it’s very doubtful that the stats which saw an increase were statistically significant .

    Stats Refute Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske’s Theory on Marijuana

  13. Windy says:

    Teen Marijuana Use Shows No Effect On Brain Tissue, Unlike Alcohol, Study Finds

    The article still tries to link cannabis use in the teens with decreased IQ and suggests other “harms”.

    No comments, yet.

  14. Clink says:

    What is wrong with this human species? Why do they treat all teenagers like the have no conscious function at all. Some of them can be more mature and aware of their environment than most adults on this planet. Change can be good or bad, but change can evolves us from our past mistakes. All the younger generation wants is change.

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