Adolescent Behavior on an “Average Day”

Monday, October 29th, 2007
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Today may be an average day, but see if your definition of “average” changes after reading this new data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which found that on an average day in 2006:

  • Nearly 50,000 adolescents used inhalants;
  • Nearly 27,000 adolescents used hallucinogens;
  • Nearly 13,000 used cocaine;
  • Nearly 3,800 used heroin;
  • Nearly 8,000 adolescents ages 12 to 17 drank alcohol for the first time;
  • Approximately 4,300 adolescents used an illicit drug for the first time;
  • Around 4,000 adolescents smoked cigarettes for the first time;
  • Nearly 3,600 adolescents used marijuana for the first time; and
  • Approximately 2,500 adolescents abused pain relievers for the first time.

Overall, SAMHSA finds fewer adolescents are using illicit drugs than in 2002, but misuse of prescription drugs among adolescents increased from 5.4 percent in 2002 to 6.4 percent in 2006, largely attributable to the increase in nonmedical use of pain relievers. In this week’s Healthcare Business Weekly Update, read about a SAMHSA pilot to deliver point-of-sale substance abuse prevention information sheets to purchasers of highly abused prescription drugs, a first step in combating prescription drug misuse among teens and young adults.

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