September 12th marked the Ohio Rally to Recovery at the Statehouse for National Recovery Month. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that ‘over 23 million Americans need alcohol or drug treatment. About half started drinking under the age of 14. It is estimated that 9% of the population meets criteria for alcohol use disorder. Roughly 25% of the children (under 18) experiences dependence or abuse in the family. About 10% of the population is in recovery.’
A recent JAMA Archives of General Psychiatry reported on the Use and Abuse of Alcohol and Illicit Drugs in US Adolescents (2012.787; article ID 1151056) in an abstract of the results of the National Comorbidity Survey. The abstract states that “by late adolescence, 78.2% of US adolescents had consumed alcohol, 47.1% had reached regular drinking levels defined by at least 12 drinks within a given year, and 15.1% met criteria for lifetime abuse. The opportunity to use illicit drugs was reported by 81.4% of the oldest adolescents, drug use by 42.5%, and drug abuse by 16.4%. The median age at onset was 14 years for alcohol abuse with or without dependence, 14 years for drug abuse with dependence, and 15 years for drug abuse without dependence.”
The CDC has several fact sheets on alcohol abuse. Their website cites numerous studies which show, “Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States, more than tobacco and illicit drugs1, and is responsible for more than 4,700 annual deaths among underage youth2. Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States.3 More than 90% of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinks.3 On average, underage drinkers consume more drinks per drinking occasion than adult drinkers.4 In 2010, there were approximately 189,000 emergency rooms visits by persons under age 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol.5” www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm
These staggering results continue to rise as we see more and more teens struggle with the pressures to keep up with the demands of every day life. Often teens turn to alcohol, prescription drugs, cocaine and other drugs to help cope. Teen drinking, smoking, and drug use can affect general health, physical growth, emotional development, and school performance. You can recognize and respond to substance use by:
- Knowing the signs of substance use.
- Discussing substance use with your teen.
- Getting appropriate treatment if your teen has an abuse problem
[photo credit: Young Man sitting in Playground Smoking Joint Monkey Business Images Dreamstime.com 10401177]