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Marijuana Use Among Teens Spikes, Alcohol Use Dips

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More teens are using marijuana regularly, according to an annual national survey of drug use of 47,000 high school students in the 8th, 10th and 12th grade, reported the Associated Press. The number of teens who view marijuana as a "great risk" has also decreased in the past few years.

"One thing we've learned over the years is that when young people come to see a drug as dangerous, they're less likely to use it," Lloyd Johnston, the study's principal investigator, said in a telephone interview with the AP. "That helps to explain why marijuana right now is rising, because the proportion of kids who see it as dangerous has been declining."

Alcohol use among the same age group has dropped to historic lows, according to results from the survey conducted by the University of Michigan for the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Pot use among high school seniors reached its highest rate since 1981—one in 15 reported smoking marijuana on a daily or near daily basis.

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A survey question about synthetic marijuana was added to the test for the first time this year. Often sold as incense in drug paraphernalia shops and on the Internet, synthetic marijuana—with the street name Spice or K2—is made of organic leaves dipped in chemicals that mimic a marijuana high when smoked. On March 1, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued an emergency order banning the sale of five chemicals used in herbal blends to make synthetic marijuana.

One of every nine high school seniors reported using synthetic marijuana within the previous year.