Saturday, August 31, 2013

New Report Sheds Light on Adolescent Substance Use

In a new report by the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ), a public health data wing of SAMHSA, we are shown the rates of adolescent substance use through the lens of an "average day". While the overall use of substances declined from 2008 - the previous time this data was compiled -, rates for treatment-seeking have remained stable and the numbers are still quite shocking.

Among the highlights (emphasis mine):  
According to combined 2010 and 2011 NSDUH data, in the past year, nearly 7 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 drank alcohol, nearly 5 million used an illicit drug, and 3 million smoked cigarettes.

In addition, on an average day during the past year, adolescents aged 12 to 17 used the following substances:
• 881,684 smoked cigarettes;
• 646,702 used marijuana;
• 457,672 drank alcohol;
• 38,540 used inhalants;
• 21,775 used hallucinogens;
• 6,747 used cocaine; and
• 5,602 used heroin.

The combined 2010 and 2011 NSDUH data indicate that:
• adolescents who used alcohol in the past month drank an average of 4.3 drinks per day on the days they drank, and
• adolescents who smoked cigarettes in the past month smoked an average of 3.9 cigarettes per day on the days they smoked.
Number of Adolescents Aged 12 to 17 Who Used Cigarettes, Alcohol, or Illicit Drugs for the First Time on an Average Day: 2010 and 2011 NSDUHs:
This is a bar graph comparing number of adolescents aged 12 to 17 who used cigarettes, alcohol, or illicit drugs for the first time on an average day: 2010 and 2011 NSDUHs. Accessible table located below this figure.
Source: 2010 and 2011 SAMHSA National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUHs).

Treatment Data -
TEDS reported that there were 132,850 admissions for adolescents aged 12 to 17 to substance abuse treatment programs in 2010 (TEDS data come primarily from facilities that receive some public funding). TEDS indicates that, on a typical day in 2010, adolescent admissions to treatment reported the following primary substances of abuse:
This is a bar graph comparing number of adolescents aged 12 to 17 admitted to publicly funded substance abuse treatment facilities on a typical day, by primary substance of abuse: 2010 TEDS. Accessible table located below this figure.
Source: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2K13/CBHSQ128/sr128-typical-day-adolescents-2013.htm

The report also notes that in 2011 there were over 280,000 drug-related ED visits by adolescents, and on a typical day, alcohol - alone, or in combination with another drug - is most likely to be involved.

You can see the full report here.

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