A report released by the Partnership at Drugfree.org, formerly known as the Partnership for a Drug Free America, revealed that use of marijuana and ecstasy among teens has increased. In addition, attitudes toward alcohol consumption among teens have relaxed.
According to a feature by Reuters, the number of teenagers who admitted to using marijuana in the past year increased from 32 percent to 39 percent, between 2008 and 2010. In the same period, the number of teens who admitted to using ecstasy in the past year increased from 6 percent to 10 percent.
Meanwhile, more high school students – 45 percent – indicated that they did not consider heavy daily drinking a “great risk,” compared to 31 percent who did not approve of peers who get drunk. The percentages were based on the results of a survey involving 2,500 high school students; of this group, 68 percent admitted to having had at least one drink in their lifetime, at the average age of 14.
The increase in substance abuse among teens is being attributed in part to normalization of the use of illicit substances in social media, the growing use and availability of medical marijuana, as well as budget cuts for substance abuse programs, as expressed by Partnership at Drugfree.org director of strategy, Sean Clarkin.
Reuters shared the following statements from a phone interview with Clarkin: “There are very high levels of kids reporting that they are using drugs and alcohol to deal with stress… the net impact of all that puts an even heavier burden on parents who really need to play an active roll in preventing this behavior and knowing how to get help for a kid when they are abusing any of these substances.”