Teen Drinking On Rise Again. Parents:WAKE UP!

by GALTime.com Parenting Pro Michele Borba, Ed.D.

After almost a decade of a decline in teen drug abuse, a new survey out this month shows a marked and troubling upswing in youth substance abuse. While there are some encouraging stats, the overall findings should make every parent keep an even closer eye on their child and not only in our own homes. Case in point, this little factoid: The study found that the place where teens are most likely to encounter drugs is at parties and other social situations. While that may not seem shocking, what concerns me is that kids tell us that many parties are not adult supervised and in some cases it's the adults who are the suppliers.

The survey was done by The Partnership for a Drug-Free America and called the "MetLife Foundation Attitude Tracking Study." involving hundreds of Americans teens. Here are highlights that every parent should know:

Alcohol, ecstasy, and marijuana use are increasing:

  • Number of teens in grades 9-12 that used alcohol in the past month has grown by 11 percent, (from 35 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2009)

  • Ecstasy use over the past year shows a 67 percent increase (from 6 percent in 2008 to 10 percent in 2009)

  • Marijuana use shows a 19 percent increase (from 32 percent in 2008 to 38 percent in 2009)

Teen attitudes about substance abuse are also changing. Read these comments carefully:

  • Percentage of teens agreeing that "being high feels good" increased significantly from 45 percent in 2008 to 51 percent in 2009.

  • Teens agreeing with the statement that "friends usually get high at parties" increased from 69 percent to 75 percent over the same time period.

Teen prescription medication abuse findings are still high but stable:

  • Teen abuse of Rx medicines has remained stable with about 1 in 5 teens in grades 9-12 (20 percent) or 3.2 million reporting abuse of a prescription medication at least once in their lives.

  • 1 in 7 teens (15 percent) o reporting abuse of a prescription pain reliever in the past year

  • Eight percent or 1.3 million teens reported OTC cough medicine abuse in the past year

The national study also stressed the need for parents to step up to the plate and take action ASAP as more teens are using alcohol, Ecstasy and marijuana. I couldn't agree more. The most disturbing finding (for me anyway) was this: Click here for more.

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