New Study Examines Teen Alcohol And Illicit Drug abuse

Most US teenagers have used alcohol and drugs when they reach adulthood and most 15 percent of these meet the requirements for substance abuse, according to a new survey published within the April issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
The survey in excess of 10,000 US teens discovered that 4 out of 5 (78.2 percent) teens had tried alcohol prior to the chronilogical age of 18. The outcomes of the survey also demonstrated that some 18 percent of adults meet the criteria for “lifetime abuse” of alcohol and 11 percent meet that criteria for drug abuse, with start of abuse from teenage life for a lot of.
“It´s in adolescence the onset of substance abuse disorders occurs for many individuals,” lead author Joel Swendsen, director of research in the National Center of Scientific Research in Bordeaux, France, told Reuters. “That’s in which the roots occur.”
For the study, Swendsen and colleagues examined the frequency, age of onset and socio-demographic factors associated with alcohol and drug abuse and abuse by US teens. The cross-sectional survey included a nationally representative sample of 10,123 adolescents ages 13 to 18 years of age. The study and survey were conducted between February 2001 and January 2004.
Researchers discovered that median age at onset was 14 years old for regular alcohol consumption without or with dependence; 14 years old for drug abuse with dependence; and Fifteen years old for substance abuse without dependence.
“Since the early onset of substance use is a substantial predictor of substance use behavior and disorders in a lifespan, the general public health implications of the present findings are far reaching,” the study authors noted.
According to 3,700 teens in the survey who were between 13 and 14, the team discovered that roughly one in ten had consumed alcohol on a regular basis, defined as 12 drinks within a year. Time jumped to about one in five when the team surveyed 2,300 17- to 18-year-olds.
Swendsen and colleagues said nearly one in three from the regular users within the oldest age group met the factors for lifetime excessive drinking.
60 % of the teens surveyed said they’d the chance to use illicit drugs, for example marijuana, cocaine, stimulants and painkillers. About ten percent 13- to 14-year-olds said they’d used a minumum of one such drug, and that increased to 40 percent in the oldest age bracket. Marijuana was the most typical type of drug used, accompanied by prescription drugs.
Swendsen and colleagues noted that while the prospect of alcohol and drug abuse increased as we grow older, the rates were more often than not lowest in black along with other racial/ethnic groups compared to white or Hispanic adolescents.
“The main reason we worry about [drug and alcohol use] would be that the earlier [teens] use these substances the sooner they become hooked on it,” Susan Foster, v . p . and director of policy research and analysis at the National Focus on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in New York, told Reuters.
Foster, who was not part of the study, said using such drugs at this kind of early age is especially dangerous since the mental abilities are still developing. “There´s really a kind of rewiring which goes on with continued use than can lead to an increased curiosity about using and an wherewithal to stop using,” she added.
Foster, whose organization published a comprehensive report on substance abuse in adolescents last year, said the findings of the latest study are consistent with that research. “We´ve had spikes and declines of abuse across the population,” she said.
Swendsen and colleagues also noted that strategies have to target adolescents to avoid drug and alcohol abuse, but also have to take into consideration the various factors that influence it.
“We don´t have to bombard them with information that´s beyond their stage of development, but don´t think a 13-year-old doesn´t understand what cannabis is,” Swendsen told Reuters.
“Preventing both alcohol and illicit drug abuse requires strategies that concentrate on early adolescence and look at the highly differential influence that population-based factors may exert by stage of substance use,” the authors concluded.

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