Teen Substance Abuse Not Decreasing

Marijuana, OxyContin, and Alcohol are just three reasons we are seeing more and more addiction and a young age. Teenagers are vulnerable to addiction and these formative years can be very difficult for boys and girls.

Despite campaigns to decrease drug and alcohol use by teenagers, parental supervision and classes designed for the prevention of substance abuse, teens are still using in alarmingly high numbers.

A recent report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that each day about 500,000 teens ages 12 to 17 drink alcohol, 640,000 use illegal drugs and more than 1 million smoke cigarettes.

The report, A Day in the Life of American Adolescents: Substance Use Facts Updates, also discovered the following about adolescent drug use:

•    On any given day, about 560,000 teens use marijuana
•    Nearly 37,000 use inhalants
•    About 24,000 use hallucinogens
•    16,000 use cocaine
•    2,800 use heroin

“This report is a wake-up call about the extent to which our nation’s youth engage in risky behavior by using illegal and potentially dangerous substances every day,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.

Whether or not they are aware of the consequences of drug and alcohol use, teens experiment. The report found that, on an average day in 2008 (when the study was completed):

•    About 7,500 teens drank alcohol for the first time
•    4,360 used illegal drugs for the first time
•    Nearly 3,900 teens smoked cigarettes for the first time
•    About 3,700 teens used marijuana for the first time
•    2,500 adolescents abused pain relievers for the first time

“The burden of substance abuse casts a tragic shadow on the lives of far too many young people,” said Dr. Howard K. Koh, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “We must meet this public health challenge head on and do everything we can to promote prevention and treatment programs for youth that will ensure the overall health, success and well-being of our nation’s next generation.”

Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment

Though teen substance abuse continues to be a concern, treatment for drug or alcohol abuse can help teens make a complete recovery so that their behaviors don’t follow them into adulthood. The SAMHSA survey found the following statistics about how many people under age 18 were receiving treatment for a substance abuse problem during an average day in 2008:

•    More than 76,000 teens were in outpatient treatment
•    More than 9,000 teens were in non-hospital residential treatment
•    More than 700 teens were in hospital inpatient treatment

Teen substance abuse treatment involves group and individual therapy that addresses both drug and alcohol addiction and the underlying issues that caused the addiction. Through the right type of treatment, even teens whose experimentation with drugs became full-blown addictions can successfully recover.