A new report released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, New York City, revealed the most pressing public health problem faced by our nation today: teen substance abuse.
A feature on WebMD shared details included in the report, which indicated that a significant 46 percent â€“ representing nearly half â€“ of students in high school are either smoking, drinking alcohol, or using illicit substances. One in three of these teens, the report indicated further, are already addicted to these substances.
In addition, a quarter of those in the U.S. who began using drugs or drinking alcohol before the age of 18 eventually fell under the criteria for addiction to drugs or alcohol. The most common substance of choice, according to the report, is alcohol, followed by cigarettes and marijuana.
Susan E. Foster, vice president and director of policy research and analysis for CASA and study author, shared: â€œI was surprised at the prevalence of substance use disorders among young peopleâ€¦ Do everything you can to get young people through their teen years without using drugs or alcoholâ€¦ Every year they donâ€™t use drugs or alcohol reduces their risk of negative consequences, such as addiction.â€
The report is based on an analysis of the results of a survey conducted on 1,000 high school students, 1,000 parents of high school students, and 500 school officers, as well as expert interviews, focus groups, and a literature review of 2,000 scientific articles. The report also analyzed seven data sets.