Researchers at the Substance Abuse Services at The Zucker Hillside Hospital in New York have found out that more and more teens in the United States are experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and almost 15% of them qualify for substance abuse.
Bruce Goldman, director for the Substance Abuse Services, said that the new study depicts the truth that most kids these days get involved on drugs and alcohol issues at very early stages in their growth and development.
“Unfortunately, many youth are at risk of developing abuse and dependency problems due to factors including genetic predisposition, environmental availability, school difficulties, social/family problems and co-occurring psychiatric or behavioral disorders,” Goldman adds.
The research team from the University of Bordeaux in France gathered data from more than 10,000 teens in the United States with ages ranging from 13 to 18 years old. The proponents of the study uncovered that more than 78% of the teens had already tried alcoholic beverages while 47% of them consumed an average of 12 drinks in a year, and an alarming 15% of the total participants satisfied the criteria for substance abuse.
Drug abuse statistics were even higher with 81.4% of the teen respondents admit to having tried using illicit drugs, 47% confirmed their status of being drug users, and an astounding 16.4% considered as full-pledged drug abusers.
In the April issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, the team indicated the average age when kids start using drugs or alcohol on a regular basis is at age 14. “Because the early onset of substance use is a significant predictor of substance use behavior and disorders in a lifespan, the public health implications of the current findings are far-reaching.”
In a feature from Health Day, Goldman stressed the importance of getting parents and the whole community involved in fighting the battle against substance abuse. “Effective early intervention needs to be universally available to youth that are found to be using substance.”