Loner teenager leans on wall

10 Dec Are the Kids Alright: Minors and Addiction

Throughout nearly every walk of American life, addiction has had an affect on countless families and individuals, regardless of class, race, gender, or any other demographic divide. However, one particular demographic that deserves to get looked at, more often, is that of young people who struggle with addiction. The rate of drug abuse amongst members of the youngest generation is directly going to impact the future of addiction, and whether we can bring down rates that have been drastically rising for the past two decades.

Current drug abuse statistics

Currently, an astonishingly nearly 9 out of 10 teenagers reveal that they know a classmate or peer who drinks alcohol, smokes cigarettes, or does harder drugs during the school day. Of teenage alcohol abuse, 1 out of 5 teenagers in a recent survey admitted to binge drinking within the past month, and 1 out of 3 admitted drinking at all. Alcohol is the most abused substance, by teens, but marijuana is not far behind. 1 out of 5 high school seniors admit to smoking marijuana in the past month, while 1 out of 20 do so every day.

Earlier generations

What’s interesting about teenagers and substance abuse is that the trends of how many teens abuse substances have actually trended positively, in some ways, over the years. For example, even though teen drinking is still a major problem, it is down 20% from what it was in 2001, when more than half of all high schoolers admitted to drinking alcohol in the past 30 days. Over the past 50 years, teen substance abuse has been trending downwards.

However, one aspect of addiction today is the severity of drugs that are being abused. Today, prescription drug abuse, across many demographics, is at an all-time high. While that fact is truly frightening on its own, it gets worse when you consider how prescription opioids have served as a gateway to much more dangerous substances, such as heroin, which is up amongst teenagers, with 1 out of 3 teenagers saying it is easy to obtain heroin.

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