Adolescents and Substance Use/Abuse

New numbers out today on substance use among adolescents, courtesy of this brief report by the Health and Human Services-affiliated Office of Applied Studies. In 2006, the study found,

  • One-third of 12- to 17-year-olds in the United States consumed alcohol,
  • one-fifth admitted to illegal drug use,
  • and one-sixth admitted to smoking cigarettes.

Regarding first-time use, 10.6 percent tried alcohol, and 5.8 percent experimented with drugs. On any given day, almost twice as many adolescents smoked cigarettes as consumed alochol (roughly 1.25 million compared with more than 630,000), and marijuana use trailed not far behind (586,454). Rates of alcohol and drug use among adolescents have been dropping since 2002, the report finds, although rates of treatment for substance abuse have been steady. In 2005 adolescents as a group made up 7.7 percent of all US residents in treatment centers.


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