Did adolescents change in the decade spanning 2002 to 2011? Were they receiving enough messages at home and in school regarding the dangers of substance abuse that they no longer needed them from media sources?
According to a Newswise report, the percentage of teens receiving media messages regarding the prevention of substance abuse dropped from 83.2 percent to 75.1 percent from 2002 to 2011, respectively.
Unfortunately, messages received in school also declined from 78.8 percent to 74.5 percent in the same span of time. And, teens don’t appear to be talking to their parents, or at least not all of them. Approximately 40 percent had no conversations with their parents in the previous year regarding the dangers associated with substance abuse.
This change in messaging indicates a potentially serious gap as teen attitudes regarding the risks associated with marijuana and alcohol have experienced significant change over the same decade. Patterns of substance use have also changed, but not all in the same direction.
Teen’s Thoughts Much Different on Alcohol and Drug Abuse
For instance, the perceived risk associated with marijuana consumption once or twice per week decreased from 54.6 percent to 44.8 percent from 2007 to 2011, respectively. Conversely, the perceived risk associated with heavy drinking rose from 38.2 percent to 40.7 percent from 2002 to 2011, respectively.
During the same time period, binge drinking dropped from 10.7 percent to 7.4 percent to. The instances of marijuana use from 2007 to 2011 increased from 6.7 percent to 7.9 percent, indicating adolescents have a better understanding of the risks associated with alcohol than those associated with marijuana use.
To ensure the numbers associated with use continue to decline, it’s time to bring substance abuse prevention back to the media, the classroom and the dinner table conversation.