Teen Drug and Alcohol Abuse Facts and Statistics

Drug and alcohol abuse in our nation’s teenagers has become a major public health issue. The government collects facts on substance abuse and reports on the statistics… and they are staggering. Below are some of the statistics that the United States Government has reported on.

Facts and Statistics on Drug Abuse in Teens

  • Almost 50% of high school seniors have abused a drug of some kind.
  • By 8th grade 15% of kids have used marijuana.
  • 43% of high school seniors have used marijuana.
  • 8.6% of 12th graders have used hallucinogens – 4% report on using LSD specifically.
  • Over 60% of teens report that drugs of some kind are kept, sold, and used at their school.
  • 1 in every 9 high school seniors has tried synthetic marijuana (also known as “Spice” or “K2”).
  • 1.3% of high school seniors have tired bath salts.
  • 64% of teens say they have used prescription pain killers that they got from a friend or family member.
  • 28% of teens know at least 1 person who has tried ecstasy.
  • 7.6% of teens use the prescription drug Aderall.
  • Over 5% of 12th graders have used cocaine and over 2% have used crack.
  • More teenagers die from taking prescription drugs than the use of cocaine AND heroin combined.

Facts and Statistics on Cigarette Use in Teens

  • By 8th grade 15.5% of kids have smoked cigarettes.
  • Almost 7% of high school seniors smoke cigarettes every day.
  • Only 20% of high school seniors think smoking occasionally is dangerous.
  • Over 18% of 12th graders reported that they have smoked a hookah in the past year.
  • Almost 20% of high school seniors have smoked a cigar.
  • Every day in the US almost 3,900 kids under the age of 18 years old try their first cigarette.
  • After the first cigarette, 950 of the 3,900 kids who try smoking will become daily smokers.
  • Of the 950 daily new smokers, half will end up dying from their habit.

Facts and Statistics on Alcohol Abuse in Teens

  • By 8th grade almost 30% of kids have tried drinking alcohol.
  • 58% of sophomores have abused alcohol.
  • 71% of high school seniors have used alcohol.
  • 23% of 12th graders reported on binge drinking – with over 5 drinks in a row.
  • 8% of high school students admit to driving after drinking.
  • 24% of high school students rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.
  • Teenagers who drink alcohol are 50% more likely to try cocaine (“coke”) than those who never use alcohol.
  • 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States is from underage drinkers.
  • The average age of a boy who tries alcohol is 11, girls are on average 13.
  • Teens that started drinking before the age of 15 are 5 times more likely to become addicted to alcohol later on, unlike those kids who waited until after they were 21.
  • Teens that drink often are more than 3 times more likely to commit self-harm — such as cutting or suicide attempts — than teens that don’t drink.
  • Alcohol is the leading factor in the top 3 causes for death in 15-24 year olds, which are auto crashes, homicides and suicides.

Parents…. Did you know?

When a parent talks to their teenager regularly about the dangers of drugs and alcohol they lessen the chance of their child using drugs by 42%! However, only 25% of teens report on actually having these conversations.

Click here for some tips on talking to your teen about drug and alcohol abuse.

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