Top drugs abused by high school seniors
The U.S. is in the midst of a drug crisis. Opioid abuse has swept the nation and is at an all-time high. OxyContin, America's best-selling prescription pain reliever — and one of the most abused — has found its way into high schools.
Though the National Institutes of Health's Monitoring the Future survey shows promising trends — for example, alcohol, cigarette and illicit drug abuse by high schoolers has declined over the past two decades — the rate of marijuana use remains relatively high and stagnant. As of 2014, nearly 34 percent of high school seniors had said they used marijuana in the past year.
SEE ALSO: What opioid painkillers do to your body and brain
People are most likely to begin abusing drugs during adolescence and young adulthood. By senior year, 70 percent of high schoolers have tried alcohol, 50 percent have tried an illegal drug, 40 percent have smoked a cigarette and approximately 20 percent will have used a prescription drug for a non-medical purpose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Not only does this hurt high schoolers in the short term by unnecessarily altering their body physiology and taking time away from academics or sports, it can affect them in the long term by stunting their developing brains.
Note: In the case of ties, the drugs are listed alphabetically.
Percent of Seniors Who Have Used in Past Year: 34.9%
Hashish and marijuana are both cannabis products. Hashish contains a higher density of the psychoactive chemicals and is made from the sap of the plant, while marijuana typically refers to the dried flower buds. Both are illegal under federal law, however, individual states are passing initiatives to legalize the sale and distribution of marijuana to individuals 21 years old and over.
RELATED: The faces of heroin abuse