By Kristen Fritz
Back in September, a survey was conducted on the state of drug use among U.S. teens and adults that suggested drugs are still a big problem for many Americans. For the annual survey, researchers from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) polled 70,000 people ages 12 and older, asking them about drugs they may or may not have taken within the month. The survey, which looked at data from 2011, provides a look at current substance abuse around the country, according to its authors.
The survey found a 14 percent decline in prescription drug use for non-medical purposes among people 18 to 25, which reflects 300,000 fewer young adults abusing such drugs compared with last year's survey. Prescription abuse rates among children 12 to 17 and adults older than 26 remained unchanged.
About 8.7 percent of Americans 12 and older were identified as current drug users -- similar to last year's 8.9 percent rate -- for a total of 22.5 million American drug users.
"Behind each of these statistics are individuals, families and communities suffering from the consequences of abuse and addiction," SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, says in a press release. "We must continue to promote robust prevention, treatment and recovery programs throughout our country."
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are ways to prevent teen drug abuse. Common risk factors can include: a mental or behavioral health condition, such as depression, anxiety or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); early aggressive or impulsive behavior; a history of traumatic events, such as experiencing a car accident or being a victim of abuse; or low self-esteem or poor social coping skills. They suggest talking to your teens about reasons not to abuse drugs, ways to resist peer pressure, and even be ready to discuss your own drug use.
Don't be afraid that talking about drug abuse will plant ideas in your teen's head. Conversations about drugs won't tempt your teen to try drugs. Instead, talking about drug abuse lets your teen know your views and understand what you expect of him or her. Other great resources are TeenCentral.Net and ParentCentral.Net, free online counseling forums where you can get advice and read stories from other people dealing with the same circumstances.