LA CROSSE, Wis.--A new study shows one out of 15 high school seniors nationwide reported smoking marijuana regularly. The University of Michigan study also says that's the highest rate in 30 years.

It's a growing problem in La Crosse too. In 2007, 52 percent of teens reported using marijuana in La Crosse County. In 2011, it's about 56 percent. But marijuana isn't the only problem. Prescription drug abuse is also on the rise.

Drug use among teens is a problem that isn't always visible. 

“You assume people are doing it but it's not really outside in public, if it's there it's pretty well hidden,” said Makenzie Becker, a senior at Central High School.

But Central High School students Makenzie Becker and Molly Wichelt know it's happening.

“I have close friends who have decided to make bad decisions and I know the effects it can have on grade wise and their personalities as well and it's a sad thing,” said Molly Wichelt, a Central High School junior.

The results of the national study on increased marijuana use doesn't surprise La Crosse Police department Sgt. Avrie Schott. She says part of the problem is students don't know how dangerous it actually is. But it isn't just the marijuana. Sgt. Schott says prescription drug abuse among teens has started to become a problem in recent years too.

“I think we're just seeing an increase of the usage of marijuana and the over-the counter-prescription drug because it's easier to gain access to some of those drugs and also some of the kids don't see the risks behind the usage of it,” said Schott.

Schott says one of the main ways to attack the problem is through education. The La Crosse Police department has paired with schools offering DARE programs and school resource officers to educate students about the dangers of smoking marijuana.

Schott says it’s community effort too.

“One, you hear it from your peers and peers are ultimately your peer influence and so to hear it from another peer is a good way to understand that ‘wow, if they're telling me that's a good person to listen to,’ but also from a police officer or from a teacher because ultimately students look to officers and teachers to educate them," said Schott.

Some of the popular prescription drugs officers have come across are Ritalin and OxyCotin,

Abuse of these drugs could lead to organ and brain cell damage and also death.

Smoking marijuana can lead to increase Asthma and cancer risks as well as damage to the brain-cells, which can also lead to poor academic performance.

Law enforcement officials say they know prescription drug abuse among teens is a problem, but determining how serious the problem is is a challenge. That's because prescription drugs affect everyone differently and there aren't any clear-cut signs to look for.