Teen Substance Abuse Statistics

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInEmail to someone

Drug and alcohol use in teens runs rampant in this country, and often the parents of the afflicted teens are completely unaware.

It’s downright scary to look at teen substance abuse statistics in the United States. Read on to find out what’s going on, then decide for yourself if it’s worth taking a very careful look into your teen’s comings and goings.

Teen Substance Abuse Statistics

From The U.S. Dept. of Justice Statistics and National Institute on Drug Abuse come the following statistics:

  • Alcohol kills 6.5 times more youth than all other illicit drugs combined.
  • By the 8th grade, 52% of adolescents have consumed alcohol, 41% have smoked cigarettes and 20% have used marijuana.
  • Around 28% of teens know a friend or classmate who has used ecstasy, with 17% knowing more than one user.
  • Traffic crashes are the greatest single cause of death for all persons age 6-33.
  • About 45% of these fatalities are alcohol-related crashes.
  • Crystal meth has become the most dangerous drug problem of small-town America.
  • Kids between 12 and 14 that live in smaller towns are 104% more likely to use meth than those who live in larger cities.
  • Youth who drink alcohol are 50 times more likely to use cocaine than young people who never drink alcohol.
  • More than 60% of teens said that drugs were sold, used, or kept at their school.
  • In 2006, more than 2.1 million teens abused prescription drugs; imagine that figure today.
  • While rates of illicit drug use are declining, the rate of prescription drug use remains high. 15.4% of HS seniors reported non-medical use of at least one prescription medication within the past year.
  • About 64% of teens (12-17) who have abused pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives, often without their knowledge.
  • Teens whose parents talk to them regularly about the dangers of drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those whose parents don’t, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.
  • Marijuana is still being used just as often by students as five years ago, and teens don’t really even see marijuana as dangerous.
  • Prescription drug abuse has been steadily increasing, as well as inhalant abuse.

What Can Be Done About Teen Drug Problems?

The facts above are indeed frightening to any parent. That said, the battle against teen substance abuse is not hopeless. Our society has answered the need for treatment programs for these afflicted teens and available to them now is a wide variety of drug and alcohol rehab options, one of which is sure to fit the individual needs of any one of them.

We need to empower our adolescents and let them know that they are not alone, that there are many other teens in the same predicament, and that full recovery is within reach.

We need to teach them the risks, warn them about the dangers, equip them with the knowledge and confidence to stay clean, and support them through this like we would through any other life crisis.