Teen Drug Use Down in Last Six Years; Prescription Drugs Still a Concern

Teen Drug Use Down in Last Six Years; Prescription Drugs Still a Concern

 A new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that teen drug use has dropped significantly in the last six years; however, abuse of prescription painkillers is still an “area of concern” among teens.

The study involved youth ages 12 to 17, and indicates that 9.3 percent of teens used illicit drugs in any one-month period in 2008, down about 2 percent over the course of the survey.

“The survey findings are important because they often point to emerging patterns of substance abuse," says Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy. "Although we see some success in the reduction of overall illicit drug use, methamphetamine, and prescription drug abuse among teens, there are indications that progress in other areas may be at a standstill, or even slipping back."

The Office of National Drug Control Policy is actively involved in prevention of teen drug use, aiming messages at both the youth and their parents.

While teen drug use overall appears to be down, the report sees an overall softening in attitudes toward drug use, highlighted by a decrease in the number of teens who view weekly marijuana use as a "great risk."

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