The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at the Columbia University in New York recently shared alarming statistics on teens under substance abuse. According to the report, almost 50% of the American teen population is now into drinking, smoking or drug abuse, and many of them become addicts before they reach the age of 18.
The report also cited alcohol as the most common drug of choice by high school students, followed by cigarettes and marijuana. Of the ten million high school students in the country, 75% of them have already experimented with alcohol, marijuana, and even cocaine, with one out of every five qualifying in the criteria of being an addict.
CASA vice president and director of research Susan E. Foster says that their study sends out the message to parents that it’s time to intervene and prevent addictions of their teens. “Do everything you can to get young people through their teen years without using drugs or alcohol,” she says. “Every year they don’t use drugs or alcohol reduces their risk of negative consequences, such as addiction.”
Teen substance abuse has become a very big problem. But Dr. Stephen Grcevich, a child psychologist from the Family Center in Ohio, says that the problem can be avoided with parents guiding their children at the earliest stage. There is a need for parents to influence their kids even in their early years so that by the time they reach teenage years, they would be able to handle the pressure and eventually say no to drugs and alcohol.
People who drink only by age 21 are 40% less likely to become addicts later on in life than those who start drinking even before they reach 15 years old. The human brain is still developing between the ages of 15 and 22, and the process could be negatively affected by drinking, smoking or drug use.