Over 600,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 are estimated to have had a past year illicit drug use disorder based on a 2018 survey. This does not include adolescents that use drugs or alcohol but do not meet the criteria of a substance use disorder. At this age, the brain is still developing. Substance use as a teenager can have significant long term effects in addition to the health consequences that adults face. For these reasons, decreasing the rates of adolescent drug use is a priority. D.A.R.E and G.R.A.D.E. are just two of the drug use education and prevention programs taught to students in schools across the country. These programs provide information on a variety of drugs and the consequences but focus on the most commonly used drugs among teens in America: alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana.
Teen Alcohol Use
According to the 2018 NSDUH, about 9% (2.2 million) of adolescents between ages 12 and 17 had used alcohol within the past month. The NSDUH also reported that approximately 401,000 adolescents had an alcohol use disorder within the past year. When looking at the age group of 18 to 25, these numbers rise to 18.8 million young adults who have used alcohol in the past month and 3.4 million with an AUD.
Teen Tobacco Use
The 2018 NSDUH, reported about 2.7% (672,000) adolescents between ages 12 and 17 had smoked cigarettes within the past month. For young adults ages 18 to 25, the numbers rise to 6.5 million who have smoked in the past month. Although a tobacco addiction or tobacco use disorder is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, we can review rates on tobacco abuse based on daily cigarette use. For individuals 12 to 17 years old, the NSDUH estimates about 99,000 individuals who smoked cigarettes daily. When looking at the age group of 18 to 25, this number rose to 2.4 million.
Teen Marijuana Use
Not only is marijuana widely used but in most of the United States, it is illegal for adults to buy or sell. The 2018 NSDUH estimates, about 12.5% (3.1 million) adolescents between ages 12 and 17 report marijuana use within the past year. Additionally, about 512,000 adolescents in 2018 had an alcohol use disorder within the past year, as reported by NSDUH. When looking at the age group of 18 to 25, these numbers rise to 11.8 million young adults who have used marijuana in the past month and 2 million with a marijuana use disorder.
Addiction Recovery for Teenagers
These numbers might be much higher without programs such as D.A.R.E, but they are still extremely concerning. As teens enter early adulthood the rates of use for these 3 substances rise significantly. Additionally, during young adulthood, rates of prescription drug abuse and other illicit drugs tend to rise as well. If you or your child is struggling with substance abuse, get help from our quality drug and alcohol rehab program.