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Thursday, September 05, 2013

Substance use by adolescents on an average day is alarming

SAMHSA Report: On an average day, 881,684 teenagers aged 12 to 17 smoked cigarettes, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).   The report also says that on average day 646,707 adolescents smoked marijuana and 457,672 drank alcohol.

To provide some perspective, the number of adolescents using marijuana on an average day could almost fill the Indianapolis Speedway (seating capacity 250,000 seats) two and a half times. 

"This data about adolescents sheds new light on how deeply substance use pervades the lives of many young people and their families," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “While other studies indicate that significant progress has been made in lowering the levels of some forms of substance use among adolescents in the past decade, this report shows that far too many young people are still at risk."

The report, which highlights the substance abuse behavior and addiction treatment activities that occur among adolescents on an average day, draws on a variety of SAMHSA data sets.

The report also sheds light on how many adolescents aged 12 to 17 used illegal substances for the first time.  On an average day:
  • 7,639 drank alcohol for the first time;
  • 4,594 used an illicit drug for the first time;
  • 4,000 adolescents used marijuana for the first time;
  • 3,701 smoked cigarettes for the first time; and
  • 2,151 misused prescription pain relievers for the first time.
-->  Using data from SAMHSA Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), the report also analyzes how many adolescents aged 12 to 17 were receiving treatment for a substance abuse problem during an average day.  These numbers included:
  • Over 71,000 in outpatient treatment,
  • More than 9,302 in non-hospital residential treatment, and 
  • Over 1,258 in hospital inpatient treatment.  
In terms of hospital emergency department visits involving adolescents aged 12 to 17, on an average day marijuana is involved in 165 visits, alcohol is involved in 187 visits and misuse of prescription or nonprescription pain relievers is implicated in 74 visits. 

SAMHSA's National Helpline is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service that people – including adolescents and their family members -- can contact when facing substance abuse and mental health issues. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information in print on substance abuse and mental health issues. Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit the online treatment locators at http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/.

The complete report contains many other facts about the scope and nature of adolescent substance abuse, treatment and treatment admissions patterns and is available at: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2K13/CBHSQ128/sr128-typical-day-adolescents-2013.pdf. It was drawn from analyses of SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Treatment Episode Data Set, and National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, and Drug Abuse Warning Network.  

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National survey shows continued reduced levels of prescription drug use among young adults

Although still a problem,
adolescent drinking is going down.
SAMHSA Report: also shows continued reduced rates of alcohol use among those age 12 to 17.

The rate of past month nonmedical use of prescription drugs among young adults aged 18 to 25 in 2012 was 5.3 percent – similar to rates in 2010 and 2011, but significantly lower than the rate from 2009 (6.4 percent), according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA issued its 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report in conjunction with the 24th annual national observance of National Recovery Month.

The SAMHSA report also found that the rates of past month drinking, binge drinking and heavy drinking among underage adolescents aged 12 to 17 remained lower than their levels in 2002 and 2009. The percentage of people aged 12 and older who drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year in 2012 was 11.2 percent, significantly lower than the level in 2002 (14.2 percent) but similar to the rate in 2011 (11.1 percent).

Overall, the use of illicit drugs among Americans aged 12 and older remained stable since the last survey in 2011. The NSDUH report shows that 23.9 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users – (9.2 percent of the population 12 and older).


Marijuana continues to be the most commonly used illicit drug. In 2012, 7.3 percent of Americans were current users of marijuana – up from 5.8 percent in 2007. Although past month use of marijuana rose in nearly every age group between 2007 and 2012, it did drop among those aged 12 to 17 from 7.9 percent in 2011 to 7.2 percent in 2012.

In addition to marijuana, the use of heroin also rose significantly. The number of people aged 12 and older who used heroin in the past year rose from 373,000 in 2007 to 669,000 in 2012.

“These findings show that while we have made progress in preventing some aspects of substance abuse we must redouble our efforts to reduce and eliminate all forms of it throughout our nation,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “These statistics represent real people, families and communities dealing with the devastating consequences of abuse and addiction. We must strive to prevent further abuse and provide the hope of treatment and recovery to all people needing help.”

“Reducing the impact of drug use and its consequences on our Nation requires a robust public health response coupled with smart on crime strategies that protect public safety,” said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. “For the first time in a decade, we are seeing real and significant reductions in the abuse of prescription drugs in America, proving that a more comprehensive response to our drug problem can make a real difference in making our nation healthier and safer. Expanding prevention, treatment, and support for people in recovery for substance use disorders will be our guide as we work to address other emerging challenges, including the recent uptick in heroin use shown in this survey.”


The report showed some other areas of continued improvement including a drop in the rate of past month use of tobacco products among 12 to 17 year olds – from 15.2 percent in 2002, to 8.6 percent in 2012. Similarly between 2002 and 2012, the percentage of youth aged 12 to 17 with substance dependence or abuse declined from 8.9 percent to 6.1 percent.

The 2012 report also showed that many Americans needing treatment for a substance use disorder are still not receiving specialty treatment. According to the report 23.1 million Americans aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem in 2012 and only 2.5 million (or 10.8 percent of those in need) received it in a specialized treatment setting.

NSDUH is a scientifically conducted annual survey of approximately 70,000 people throughout the country, aged 12 and older. Because of its statistical power, it is a primary source of statistical information on the scope and nature of many substance abuse and mental health issues affecting the Nation.

*The complete survey findings are available on the SAMHSA web site at: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2012SummNatFindDetTables/Index.aspx 


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