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01-21 A positive trend as teen substance abuse declines

Posted in Substance Abuse

A positive trend as teen substance abuse declines

It is probably true to say that one of a parent’s worst fears is finding out that their adolescent or teen is abusing drugs and/or alcohol. The horror stories that surround those kids who follow down this road are high in number and would bring nightmares to the mind of any parent of a growing child. That is why it is good to hear that teenage drug and alcohol abuse is actually decreasing.

The Department of Health and Human Services released statistics from the 2013 National Survey on Drug use and Health that shows a decline in tobacco, marijuana, prescription drug and alcohol use. Researchers have monitored a large number of individuals and their patterns of drug and alcohol use. This allows them to give an accurate and authoritative account of the nature and scope of drug, alcohol and tobacco use in the United States for adolescent and teens, young adults and adults over the age of 25.

The 2013 survey on adolescents and teens between 12 and 17 years of age found and exciting rate of decline in illicit drug use, much to the joy of parents and drug prevention workers everywhere. In 2002 marijuana use in adolescents and teens was up to 8.2 percent, illicit drug use was up to 11.6 percent, prescription drug or psychotherapeutic use was up to 4 percent, and inhalants and hallucinogen use was up to 1.2 percent and 1 percent. Over the past ten years, trends of use in these areas have both decrease and increased by the 2013 survey found that they have ultimately lowered compared to what they were in 2002. Marijuana use is down to 7.1 percent, illicit drug use is down to 8.8 percent, prescription drug use is down to 2.2 percent, inhalant use is down to 0.6 percent and hallucinogen use is down to 0.5 percent. This means that prescription drug abuse, inhalant abuse and hallucinogen abuse have all gone down to half of what they were with significant decreases in marijuana and illicit drug use as well. Along with this there is also a decrease in how many people are beginning to abuse prescription drugs each year. It is a good sign to say the least.

Parents should be glad to know that the decreasing trend has reached tobacco and alcohol use as well. In 2002, underage drinkers made up 4.3 percent of adolescents age 12 to 13, 16.6 percent of teens age 14 to 15, and 32.6 percent of teens age 16 to 17. By 2013, underage drinking rates had dropped to 2.1 percent of adolescents between 12 and 13, 9.5 percent of teens age 14 to 15 and 22.7 percent of teens between 16 and 17. The decrease in tobacco use between 2002 to 2013 in males from age 12 and 17 dropped from 12.3 percent to 5.7 and from 13.6 percent to 5.5 percent in females.

The declining trends in these different areas of drug and alcohol use and abuse for teen age 12 to 17 is a positive indicator that prevention and education efforts are working. This may help decrease rates of addiction among adolescents and teens as time goes by and rates of alcohol dependency have already begun to drop. This is good news for parents and good news for the future of mental, emotional and behavioral health of teens in the U.S.

Written by Sovereign Health Group writer, Brianna Gibbons

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