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Good news: Fewer American teens are drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes than ever before.
Bad news: They are instead increasingly turning to marijuana.
Those were the big takeaways from the National Institute on Drug Abuse's latest Monitoring the Future report, which surveyed 47,000 eighth, 10th, and 12th graders across the nation.
Researchers found that one in eight eighth graders have tried pot, a rate that only increases for the older students: About 29 percent of high school sophomores and 36 percent of seniors have experimented with pot. Overall, 2011 marked the fourth straight year that marijuana use has increased.
Dr. Lloyd Johnston, a research scientist involved with the study, explained to CBS News that a reason for the jump is that teens increasingly no longer see pot as dangerous. "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," he said. "That helps to explain why marijuana right now is rising."
Meanwhile, the increased focus on the risks associated with alcohol and cigarette use may help explain why the percentage of teens dabbling in those stalwarts of adolescent rebellion are on the decline. Forty percent of high school seniors used alcohol in the last month, according to the report—a historic low. Meanwhile, less than 12 percent of those surveyed smoke cigarettes.
Use of harder drugs like cocaine, crack, and inhalants were also found to be on the decline.