Parents may have a reason to be concerned about the results of a recent study sponsored by the MetLife Foundation. After a decade of reports showing decline, the study released Tuesday found alcohol and marijuana use among teens is on the rise. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America conducted a study with teens in grades 9 through 12, where 3,287 teens were surveyed by researchers. Data was collected from teens who filled out questionnaires anonymously from March to June 2009.
Up until last year pot and alcohol use had been steadily declining since 1998, but, now 50 percent of teens reported drinking in the last month and 27 percent used marijuana. Today, for whatever reason, teenagers are not as worried about the long term effects of using drugs and alcohol. Marijuana has certainly become more acceptable in households around the country as a result of medical marijuana - but alcohol is any one's guess. The study showed that teens are more accepting of their friends using drugs and alcohol even if they, themselves, do not.
The annual survey found:
- Teens in grades 9 through 12 who reported drinking alcohol in the last month rose 11 percent last year - about 6.5 million teens reporting alcohol use. Up from 35 percent in 2008.
- 25 percent of teens reported smoking marijuana in the last month, up from 19 percent.
- Six percent of teens said they used Ecstasy in the past month, up from 4 percent.
- About 1 in 7 teens reported abusing a prescription pain medication in the last year.
- About 8 percent of the teens questioned reported over-the-counter cough medicine abuse in the past year.
- Teen steroid and heroin use remained low at 5 percent for lifetime use.
If you believe that your child might be abusing drugs or alcohol it is crucial for you to step in. Early detection of addiction can be so important for getting your child the help they need; the longer the problem is left unchecked the harder it will be to intervene. Fortunately, with the rising numbers of reported use there are plenty of options available to seek out for guidance. Sean Clarkin, director of strategy at The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, said, "Monitor them more closely, talk with them about drugs, set rules and consult outside help, like a counselor, doctor, clergy or other resource".