Statistics for Teen Drug Abuse

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Drug abuse by teenagers is an issue that cannot be taken lightly. Teenagers use and abuse a wide range of drugs, from legal drugs such as nicotine and prescription pills, to drugs that are illegal for their age, such as alcohol and drugs that are illegal for everyone, such as heroin and cocaine.


Cigarette Smoking

In 2009, cigarette smoking reached an all time low on a yearly survey given to students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades across the United States, according to the the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable illness and death.

Smokeless Tobacco Use

The use of smokeless tobacco, which includes snuff and chewing tobacco, has risen from 2006 and 2009 among 10th and 12th grade students. In 2006, 5.7 percent of 10th graders reported using some form of smokeless tobacco in the past month, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In 2009, that number had risen to 6.5 percent. The number rose from 6.1 to 8.4 percent among 12th graders from 2006 to 200.

Attitudes About Marijuana

The National Institute on Drug Abuse noted a decline in perceived risk of using marijuana among teenagers in 2009. In 2005, 86 percent of 12th graders thought marijuana was easy to obtain. By 2009, the percentage had decreased.

Marijuana Use

In 2007, about 4.7 percent of teenagers used marijuana for the first time, according to the National Survey for Drug Use and Health. In 2009, 32.8 percent of 12th graders said they had used marijuana during the previous month. 5.2 percent reported using the drug on a daily basis.

Prescription Drug Abuse

In 2009, one-tenth of students reported using Vicodin, and one out of 20 students claimed they had some point abused Oxytocin, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Abuse of prescription drugs rose among 10th graders between 2005 and 2009.

Alcohol Abuse

72.9 percent of 12th graders surveyed in 2009 reported consuming alcohol at some point in their lives, while 66.2 reported consuming some within the past year. In 2007, 27.9 percent of teenagers reported drinking alcohol within the past month. Of those who drank alcohol, 18.3 percent binge drank and 6 percent claimed to be heavy drinkers. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, teenage use of alcohol declined overall from 2004 to 2009.

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