Teen Drug Abuse Information

The Department of Health and Human Services announced a 9 percent decline in illicit teen drug abuse among American youth between the ages of 12 and 17 from 2002 to 2004.

Particularly striking was a decline in current teen drug abuse, defined as used in the past month, of marijuana among boys ages 12-17, from 9.1 percent in 2002 down to 8.1 percent in 2004.

In 2004, 60.3 percent of youths aged 12 to 17 reported that they had talked at least once in the past year with at least one of their parents about the dangers of drug, tobacco, or alcohol use.

Recent data from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America indicates that prescriptions have been a new drug of choice for teen drug abuse.  The survey said that between 9 and 18 percent of teens report abusing drugs such as prescription painkillers and stimulants as well as over the counter medications.  Teen drug abuse of legal drugs is equal to or higher than the rate of teen drug abuse of more common illicit drugs.

Some signs and symptoms of teen drug abuse include changes in behavior such as sudden shift of eating and sleeping patterns, changes in mood and friends or declining grades and attendance at school.  Some other signs include bloodshot eyes and unusually dilated or constricted pupils.  Parents should also be aware of other medications, alcohol and inhalants that can lead to or contribute to teen drug abuse.