Reports & Research

Monitoring the Future Surveys

Launched in 1975 by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and supported by research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, this survey analyzes recent and long-term national trends in drug and alcohol usage focusing on the perceived risks, disapproval towards, and availability of each substance. The surveys were conducted among 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students.

The 2004 Monitoring the Future survey shows, in recent years, that high-risk drinking has decreased among 8th graders and increased slightly among 12th graders. Nearly half of all 12th graders surveyed view high-risk drinking as a significant risk. Disapproval of this behavior among their peers seems to be about the same, yet 95% of all 12th grade students report that alcohol is easily available to them. One important note: the idea that alcohol use replaces marijuana use (or vice versa) has proven to be untrue, with changes in their usage running nearly equal to each other.

With the 2005 survey, we can see a continued decline in alcohol usage among all three grades. It’s believed that increased exposure to public service campaigns on the dangers of drunk driving and the necessity for designated drivers has had some positive effects on these age groups.

The 2006 survey shows that nearly all prevalence measures for alcohol use and self-reported drunkenness showed some continuing decline in all grades last year. This year, only 12th graders showed further decline in alcohol use. Although we have demonstrated progress in reducing alcohol consumption among certain grades, a comprehensive prevention approach is necessary to achieve sustainable results.

Some of the apparent trends found among the 2004, 2005 and 2006 surveys include:

  • Reports of any usage in their lifetime have decreased across all three grades.
  • Reports of self drunkenness in their lifetime have uniformly decreased.
  • 12th graders show a nearly 3% increase in the perceived harmfulness of high-risk drinking.
  • The disapproval of alcohol usage has increased significantly (nearly 2%) for all grades.
  • The perceived availability of alcohol continues to decrease for all grades.
  • Alcohol use has declined by more than a third since its peak in 1996.
  • Use of flavored alcoholic beverages is at slightly lower levels in all grades.