According to the 2016 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey, rates of teenage drug and alcohol use are on an encouraging decline. However, any substance use by adolescents is too much. The most recent results from the MTF survey reveal that past-year use of illicit drugs other than marijuana stood at 5.4% of 8th-graders, 9.8% of 10th-graders, and 14.3% of 12th-graders, the lowest level in the history of the survey in all three grades. While this is good news indeed, it is no reason to take our eye off the ball when it comes to drug treatment for this age group. As a parent, how do you know when it’s time to enroll your child in a teen treatment center?
In a newly released full report, Virginia’s Child Fatality Review Team (CFRT) found that 26 teen overdose deaths that occurred in the state between 2009 and 2013 were fully preventable. The state’s CFRT studied the issue in response to the increase in overdose deaths throughout the state and across age groups. The number of deaths caused by poisoning or overdose in Virginia increased by 13% from 2012 to 2013. In addition to the findings that the teen deaths were preventable, CFRT also discovered risk factors and other important facts.
Researchers from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital have recently discovered that the number of children younger than 6 years old exposed to marijuana is rising. Results from their study, published online in the journal Clinical Pediatrics in June 2015, showed a 147.5% increase in marijuana exposure among those under the age of 6 between 2006 and 2013. That rate soared almost 610% during the same time period in states that have legalized the drug for medical purposes.
Additionally, researchers found that the exposure rate in the states that legalized marijuana between 2000 and 2013 rose nearly 16% per year after the legalization. They also spotted a significant jump the year legalization took place. Even the states in which marijuana remained illegal by 2013 showed an increase of 63% among the rate of exposed children 2000 to 2013.
“The high percentage of ingestion in children may be related to the popularity of marijuana brownies, cookies and other foods,” Henry Spiller, MS, DABAT, a co-author of the study and director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital said in a news release. “Very young children explore their environments by putting items in their mouths, and foods such as brownies and cookies are attractive.”
Immigrating to the U.S. is the dream of many people throughout the Hispanic world, but once arrived, immigrants often struggle. Hispanic immigrants, especially young people, face a lot of pressures and difficulties in this country. For adolescents, the pressure of bicultural stress can be overwhelming. They face pressure from their parents and other older relatives to remember their heritage, and yet they also feel immense pressure to fit in with their new American peers. Recent research shows that, unsurprisingly, this stress can lead to an increased risk of substance abuse.
Parents worried about the cloud of smoke hanging over their teens’ heads can breathe a little easier. Teen smoking is at its lowest level in years, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But this type of risky behavior may have been traded for another, equally deadly one: texting while driving.
According to an extensive 2008 study, teens ages 12 to 17 showed the highest percent of drug use with just over 60 percent surveyed saying they had a dependence issue with an illicit drug. The 18 to 25 age group reported a dependence rate of 37 percent while people 26 and older were dependent at a rate near 25 percent.
Nearly a quarter of Americans between the ages of eight and 15 have experienced a mental health disorder over the previous year. These disorders can result in substance use or additional mental health diagnoses. A new study suggests group therapy can make the difference for teens.
Because education is about more than reading, writing and arithmetic, most schools and communities offer extra-curricular activities to complement learning and test-taking. This kind of activity is referred to as youth engagement, which has been shown to help teens avoid negative pitfalls while experiencing positive outcomes.
Teenagers are in a turbulent life phase. There are many normal developmental reasons why teens change how they dress, speak and behave. But teenagers are also at risk for substance experimentation which could lead to addiction. That’s why it is important for parents to be on the lookout for any clues indicating something may be wrong with their teen.
Everywhere they look—television, billboards, magazines, the Internet, and the radio—adolescents see messages about alcohol, sex, drugs. According to The Journal of Adolescent Health, “those brands with higher youth-to-adult viewership ratios were significantly more likely to have a higher percentage of occurrences with addiction.” That means the things adolescents see in their everyday lives may negatively affect their behavior. More than one third of American teenagers are turning to alcohol or drugs: 32 percent saying they drink, 19 percent saying they use drugs, and 15 percent saying they do both. That can leave a parent feeling hopeless and out of control. So what can parents do to help?
Become a careful observer of red flags
The first step to any recovery is to become a careful observer of adolescents’ behavior, particularly the small details that make up their lives: changes in friends, sleep patterns, grades, moods, judgement, personality. Be careful not to jump to conclusions because adolescents’ addiction chemically alters their brains, so they are not always ready to hear what parents have to say. Create a nurturing home environment so teens will still receive the love and support they need and feel their parents are trustworthy. This is the time to listen to them and make a sincere effort to hear what they are going through and how it got to this point.