CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - According to a survey for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana use is on the rise among teenagers.
Teens surveyed for the study also admitted to getting high on prescription pain pills.
Cape Girardeau D.A.R.E Officer A.C. Walker says she's seen a similar trend when it comes to local drug abuse among teens, and she calls it disturbing.
"More often than not when we do do any kind of drug seizures involved in the schools or involving any juveniles, nine times out of ten, it is marijuacines," Walker said.
She says most teens smoke pot because it's cheaper and easier to get a hold of.
The federal study shows marijuana is more popular than ever, with teens who were surveyed, admitting to cutting down on cigarette smoking, binge drinking and using methamphetamine.
Researchers also found teenagers more open to the idea of smoking pot because the national debate over the medical use of the drug made it seem safer to them.
A teenager we spoke with agreed the misconception had gained ground, locally.
"I just recently graduated, and in high school I knew it was becoming more prominent, more popular than drinking alcohol. People say it's better for you," 18-year-old Amanda Kaverman said.
"I think the misconception of medical marijuana and people not being educated to the difference between medical marijuana and marijuana I think has a lot to do with it, influences people into thinking its ok," Walker said.
Some parents say the study reminds them never to let down their guard when it comes to kids and drugs.
Researchers also found that prescription drug abuse is high among teens. They talked to more than 47,000 eighth, 10th and 12th graders before coming to their conclusions.