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Survey finds Arizona teens using more marijuana

FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2012, file photo, a person holds a freshly-rolled marijuana joint just after midnight at the Space Needle in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

PHOENIX — Arizona teens are using more marijuana, but drinking less according to a recent study from the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission.

Marijuana is the second highest reported substance used across all eighth, 10th and 12th graders whom participated in the bi-yearly survey. Compared to 2014, pot use in a 30-day period slightly increased from 13.6 percent to 14.2, according to the study.

Twenty-three percent of 12th graders said they used marijuana in the last month, compared to 15 percent of 10th graders and seven percent of eighth graders.

“It definitely increases as students go through eighth to 10th to 12th grade,” Andrew LeFevre, executive director of the ACJC said.

The survey found that 16 percent of students obtained marijuana from someone with a legal medical marijuana card, compared to 67 percent of students who got it from friends, 24 percent who obtained the drug at parties and 13 percent who got it from relatives.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery questioned the increase in pot use as kids got older. He compared data from 2014 and concluded there was a 100 percent increase among eighth graders then, compared to 10th graders in 2016.

“There’s more for us to use, as parents, teachers, as a community,” Montgomery said.

One in five high school seniors also reported driving while using marijuana in the past 30 days.

The survey obtained responses from more than 57,000 eighth through 12th graders from 15 counties across the state on issues from drug use to bullying.

Also, the survey found that nearly 40 percent of students said they had witnessed bullying on school property at least once during the past 12 months.

In addition, the survey concluded while 29 percent of students have drank alcohol in their lifetime, 22.4 percent have smoked an e-cigarette. That is nearly 15 percent higher than those who say they tried traditional cigarettes.

Alcohol use and prescription use over a 30 day period both went down. In 2016, 22.4 percent of youth drank alcohol in the past 30 days compared to 24.1 percent in 2014. Thirty-day prescription drug use was reported to be at its lowest level for each grade in the past 10 years.

*Correction: The original post incorrectly cited the survey from the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission. That has been changed and reflected in the current post. 

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