The experts tell us that teen drug abuse statistics are looking better. And, overall, they do. They also show a shift in the substances that teens abuse now. Moreover, statistical rate drops don’t mean anything to you if your teen is struggling with an addiction.
Statistical Evidence Shows Decrease in Substance Abuse and Shift in Thinking
The National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teachers (NIDA) released an infographic summarizing its 2016 teen drug abuse survey findings. It’s crucial to note that they feature responses by teens in grades 8, 10 and 12. Only 372 schools participated, which resulted in a response from around 45,500 students.
- Marijuana use is down for younger students. Data shows that over 5% percent of 8th graders and 14% of 10th graders use marijuana. Both trends show a downward motion. However, nearly 23% of 12th graders use the drug, which is an upward trend.
- Older students don’t see marijuana as harmful. In fact, 70% of 12th graders don’t believe that regular use is detrimental even though 69% claim they don’t approve of it.
- Alcohol consumption is prevalent with high school seniors. Although drinking among teens is going down overall, high school seniors are abusing the substance at a rate of 33%.
- Prescription drug abuse rates have also dropped among 12th graders. The misuse of prescription opioids affects roughly 5% of high school seniors.
What Statistics on Teen Drug Abuse Don’t Say
Even as smoking among high schoolers is decreasing, vaping is on the rise. This shift in nicotine delivery system can make it sound like the anti-smoking message is working for teens. It’s much more likely that the popularity of a new nicotine product with a certain coolness factor is taking over. This makes it questionable whether there isn’t a new delivery system for other drugs, too.
Another set of NIDA statistics marks a 2-fold rise in overdose deaths nationwide. When breaking it down by drug type, opioids had the largest increase. While prescription drug overdose fatalities remain steady over the years, heroin deaths marked the biggest boost. On another note, the Foundation for a Drug-Free World explains that alcohol leads to more teen deaths than the combination of other drugs.
Consider also that for all the teens who do speak openly about their drug use, there’s a shadow population that doesn’t. They may not feel safe or simply don’t want interviewers to pry into their lives. It’s also difficult to gauge how representative the sample of survey respondents may be. In short, if you’re the parent of a teen, don’t assume that a low statistical likelihood means your child is safe.
What to Do When Drugs Affect Your Teenager
Whether you’ve caught your teen abusing a drug or he or she confessed to drug use, there’s hope. Affordable addiction rehab programs give your teen the opportunity to recover with a customized treatment protocol. If you’re a teen currently trapped in the cycle of drug addiction, don’t give up. Health insurance covers addiction rehab. Call 866-957-7885 today, and reach out to the knowledgeable and friendly therapists at San Antonio Recovery Center for help