The University Record, November 5, 1997

U-M studies of teen substance abuse receive $30 million


By Diane Swanbrow
News and Information Services

The Monitoring the Future Study at Institute for Social Research (ISR) received a five-year, $23 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to continue annual surveys of smoking, drinking and illicit drug use by American young people.

Started in 1975, the study provides information on national usage patterns and attitudes of eighth-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students, as well as college students and young adults. Monitoring the Future principal investigator Lloyd D. Johnston and ISR colleagues Jerald Bachman, Patrick O'Malley and John Schulenberg also received a new five-year, $7 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to evaluate how various polici es, practices and programs affect teen substance use.

As part of the new Adolescent Substance Abuse Policies and Programs Study, the U-M team will conduct rapid-response surveys before new policies and programs are implemented, permitting before-and-after assessments of change.

"Monitoring the Future has played an important role in putting the problems of adolescent smoking and illicit drug use back on the national agenda in the '90s," Johnston says. "Now, with a lot of new programs and policy initiatives aimed at these proble ms, it will be important to determine which are working and which are not."

The Monitoring the Future Study has already assessed such major policy interventions as the impact of marijuana decriminalization during the 1970s, and the impact of raising the drinking age in the 1980s. Currently, the U-M team is evaluating how Califo rnia's Proposition 215, which legalizes the medical use of marijuana, has affected teen tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug use.