In a study spanning nearly 40 years, statistics are showing that teen addiction and drug abuse rates are largely decreasing.
The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor conducted the study across generations, starting in 1975 until 2012.
The study provides a lot of information already suspected, but a few surprises as well.
Of particular note in the study are declines in alcohol, tobacco, and synthetic marijuana use.
Tobacco use has declined by 1% from 10.6% to 9.6%. That might not sound particularly noteworthy, but a full percentile drop is a major change. What is unclear is what precisely has caused the decline. Some thing that the increased tobacco taxes are part of the reason, others think E-cigs are behind the shift, and other various changes that take place over nearly 40 years.
However, it was not always a straight decline. In 1996-1997, the teen addiction for tobacco spiked, but has steadily fallen off since then.
Synthetic marijuana and bath salts also experienced sharp declines once media reports highlighted some of the very real dangers connected to the drugs.
Additionally, use of inhalants, salvia, narcotics (other than heroin), and hallucinogens (other than LSD) have decreased.
Although this is all good news, it is not all good.
The reductions in the substances abused listed immediately above have been small. Further, marijuana addiction and abuse has risen in teens over that timeframe by as much as nearly 2% in some age groups.
On that note, interestingly, the drop in alcohol abuse in teens was attributed largely to the perception that alcohol was not as easily available. With the regulation and recreational legalization of marijuana in some states, it will be interesting to see if there is a positive or negative effect on teen abuse and addiction rates.
The study suggests that teens are becoming more aware of the risks involved in abusing drugs and alcohol, and that these risks are dissuading teens from prolonged use. It also accounts for marijuana use increasing while other drugs declined, especially with the rise in social acceptance and marijuana’s perceived reputation as harmless.
For teen addiction, though, this deterrent is ineffective. Statistics are all well and good, and the help they provide professionals is invaluable. However, an addict is an addict, and an addict will use, despite the risks.
Thus, a relationship starts to emerge that the perceived risk to the user is perhaps the most critical factor, with availability playing a close second role.
This might be old news for some, but with specific numbers, professionals may be able to modify their programs or direct resources to certain aspects of drug prevention and addiction treatment programs to make them more effective.
It also helps establish what drugs prove to be the most likely abused by teens, and revealing the dangers associated with those substances.
Then again, a study relies on many things that can lead to incorrect information.
Teen Addiction Rates Decreasing?
What are your thoughts? Are teen addiction rates decreasing? If so, why? Let us know in the comments section below!