A survey comparing drug use among Native American youth living on or near reservations to a national sample of American youth found that Native American youth report substantially higher use of alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes, and other illicit drugs. The research from Colorado State University, published in JAMA Network Open, was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.
Using an anonymous online survey, the authors asked American Indian eighth, 10th, and 12th graders enrolled in schools on or near reservations to answer a set of questions about their use of illicit substances at any time during their life and during the past 30 days. The results were compared to responses from identical questions asked of approximately 50,000 eighth, 10th, and 12th graders surveyed in the NIDA-sponsored Monitoring the Future (MTF) study, an ongoing study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students, college students, and young adults. The general MTF sample has only about 5 percent America Indian participation.