According a recent study, teenagers can now access prescription drugs, alcohol and marijuana much faster and easily than they did last year. Fortunately, easy access does not directly translate to increased drug abuse cases. For instance, marijuana use has been declining over the last few years. This paradox has raised serious questions about what drives teenagers to abuse controlled substances.
The findings of the study were recently released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance abuse, commonly referred to as CASA. The report raised nationwide concern as it was released at a time when more teenagers in the country are abusing prescription drugs than most controlled substances, except inhalants and marijuana.
A Calming Tide: Drug, Alcohol and Behavioral Resource is meant to shed some light on some of these substance abuse trends. We understand that substance abuse is a bigger problem now than ever before since kids do not need to find a drug dealer to get their daily dose. All they have to do is open their parent’s medicine cabinet and take as many pills as possible.
According to the study, 23% of teens aged between 12 and 17 years said they could get their hands on marijuana in less than one hour. 42% of them claimed they could get marijuana within 24 hours. These figures are considerably larger than figures obtained from studies in 2007.
While these figures may be scary, there is some good news – marijuana use by teens is falling steadily. Some studies we have looked at indicate teens are using 25% less marijuana than they did less than a decade ago. Unfortunately, usage of prescription drugs has not changed much. Since 2005, the number of teens using prescription drugs has remained at 1 in 5, still a troubling figure. Our experience with teenage drug abuse is that most parents are passive pushers. This is because many homes do not have locks on the medicine cabinet.
One of the main factors affecting drug use by teens is attitudes and perceptions. Before 2001, ecstasy was viewed by teens as a safe drug to get high on, which made it incredibly popular with teens. However, usage declined drastically once ecstasy was linked to several deaths.
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