Thursday, May 26, 2011

The need to implement effective prevention and treatment of drug and alcohol abuse for teens

In a study sponsored by MetLife Foundation, released on April 6, 2011, the trend in alcohol and drug abuse in teens was shown to be in need of immediate attention.

In a study sponsored by MetLife Foundation, released on April 6, 2011, the trend in alcohol and drug abuse in teens was shown to be in need of immediate attention.

The 2010 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study consists of two nationally projectable samples: a survey that measures attitudes and behaviors of parents with children ages 10 to 19 that relate to substance abuse and a teen sample for students in grades nine through 12.

New data from the study on alcohol use shows that drinking is often considered to be acceptable behavior among teens – less risky and more approved of than abuse of other substances. These beliefs are critically important: data from the University of Michigan’s annual “Monitoring the Future” survey of 8th, 10th and 12th grade high school students, going back to 1975, show that teens’ perceptions of the risk and social disapproval of drug use correlate very closely with drug taking behavior – more closely than demographic characteristics such as race / ethnicity, socio-economic status or geography.

The average age of first use among teens is 14 years old. One quarter had their first drink by the age of 12 and by age 15 six out of 10 teens have had their first drink. Age of first use is critically important: research has shown that more than 40 percent of those who start drinking at age 14 or younger developed alcohol dependence, compared with 10 percent of those who began drinking at age 20 or older.

Underlying this abuse of alcohol among teens is a low sense of risk in use. Almost half of teens do not see a “great risk” in heavy daily drinking. In addition only one in three strongly disapprove of “getting drunk” which means that seven out of 10 do not strongly disapprove of the behavior.

Teens believe that alcohol is drunk by kids because it is fun, makes parties more fun, and helps them fit in with their peers and not feel left out. Teens who have drunk alcohol in the past year say the primarily reason why they do it is because it is fun. At the same time, while having fun and social motivations are the most frequently endorsed reasons for use, over a third of teens are drinking to cope with problems. Drinking alcohol for coping reasons in adolescence is a predictor of later problem use.

About one in seven teens feels they may have a problem with alcohol – either reporting they are worried about their drinking or they drink because it is a habit. Again, heavy alcohol use at an early age, when teens’ brains are still developing, can alter reward pathways in the brain and foreshadow later problem use.

Parents concede that they think most teens will try beer occasionally; however, the majority doesn’t believe their child has drunk alcohol at all.

Additionally, based on this study, a disturbing trend confirmed the significant increases in adolescent abuse of marijuana and Ecstasy.

All measures of marijuana use (ever tried, past year, past month) continue last year’s significant increases versus 2008.

Past year and past month Ecstasy use continue last year’s significant increases versus 2008.

The 2010 data also indicated that downward trends in LSD and cigarette use, which began flattening out in 2007, may be poised for an increase.

This study provides a significant support to the argument that families need to take action in identification and treatment of alcohol and drug abuse amongst teens. If there is any hope in stopping the destructive effects of addictions in society, specifically the lives of the most impressionable members of the society, that hope is to implement effective prevention and treatment of drug and alcohol abuse now.

If you would like more information on teen drug and alcohol abuse visit Inspirations for Youth and Families, aka Inspirations Teen Rehab an addiction treatment facility specialized in teens struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction, which may include mental health issues, more commonly known as dual-diagnosis.

At Inspirations Teen Rehab we understand your concern for your teenager and the changing behaviors causing heartbreak and fear for your teen’s safety and future. Inspirations’ teen addiction treatment programs focuses on all aspects of teen behavioral issues. Family is the cornerstone of Inspirations’ teen addiction treatment center. Teens attending Inspirations’ are using or abusing drugs, often beginning with marijuana. Often, marijuana is the only drug or substance used by a teen. However, drug use becomes drug abuse and eventually leads to drug addiction. Marijuana historically leads to other drugs. Drugs combined with behaviors that demonstrate disrespect for parents, home rules, boundaries, and lack of accountability for actions, are typically an explosive combination that leads to significant and sometimes irreversible consequences.

For more information on our therapies and programs please visit us on the web.

Recovery from addiction is just a click or a phone call away.
Addiction Treatment for Teens: 1-888-757-6237

Addiction Treatment for Adults and Young Adults: 1-888-757-6237

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