New report sheds light on adolescent substance use

According to a report published yesterday by SAMHSA, the number of teenagers from age 12 to 17 smoke cigarettes on a average day is over three-quarters of a million. In addition, typically over a half-million smoked marijuana and almost a half-million drank alcohol.

SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde states that “This data about adolescents sheds new light on how deeply substance use pervades the lives of many young people and their families. 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 also highlights addition statistics on the scope of the problem. 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 a database that records treatment episodes, the report also analyzed how many adolescents received treatment for a substance abuse related problem in 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.

Source: SAMHSA