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HomeHealth & Behavior

Teens and drugs by the numbers

Wish you knew what to worry about? We've sifted through the scary stats to get the lowdown on trends in youth drug abuse. Here's what you need to know to help your child.

By Lauren Shanley

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Drug use among teens today

48.2 — Percent of high school seniors nationwide who report trying an illicit drug

It’s no news that most of today’s tweens and teens are exposed to drug culture in all its depraved stupidity. They hear about drugs in school hallways; they may have access to drugs at parties, and even if they don’t partake themselves, they probably know someone who does. If nothing else, most teens get exposed to drug use from ubiquitous media coverage of drunken starlets and addicted rockers. What you might not know is that in certain respects, today’s tweens and teens are less likely to imbibe, inhale, and sniff intoxicants than their recent predecessors. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse's annual “Monitoring the Future” study, alcohol, tobacco, and cocaine use among all age groups is declining.

But there’s bad news, too: Some drugs are gaining in popularity among youth, along with fewer kids considering certain drugs dangerous. These startling stats will give you a better sense of what kids are being exposed to and how you can help educate your child on the risks.

Photo credit: Suz75

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

02/16/2012:
"I agree with the 1/12/2012 posting. If the schools aren't going to create campaigns, I don't see why they can't let parents volunteer who are interested in the issues create campaigns. Ideally the schools and parents should be working together to create campaigns to educate, and make students aware of the four topics listed in the post. After all, the students are the future and if they are strung out, dropouts or a baby making machines, they aren't going to do much for the future except cause problems. "
01/12/2012:
"We know longer have the SAY NO TO DRUG CAMPAIGN by Nancy Reagan, however the commercials still exist. If the schools would allow parents who are interested in this particular topic to create campaigns focusing on the issues and providing additional prevention and education workshops, it would benefit the schools and students enrolled. Further, each quarter a campaign should be ran focusing on one of the four topics; Say No to Drugs, Abstinence, Stay in School, and Teen Age Pregnancy. "
08/1/2011:
"there are several misconceptions in this article especially about marijuana. first off the amount of thc in marijuana has not doubled in the past 25 years, it has only slightly risen by about 8%. also, smoking marijuana has no harmful effects on your health as opposed to cigarettes because marijuana has mo carsinogens. "
07/20/2011:
"I am surprised by the absence of education about drugs parents know almost nothing about but have extraordinary addictive natures like "bath salts". Ohio is the first state to ban the drug, but more information on this kind of "new, not illegal drug of choice" that we as parents know nothing about would be realy helpful! Thanks for all the information you provide. It helps! "
07/14/2011:
"If you live in the Cincinnati, Ohio regions check out this websites on Drug Free Coaltions http://www.drugfreecincinnati.org/ "
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