Teen use of methamphetamine and marijuana is decreasing, according to research by The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, as more teens than ever before say they “learn a lot about the risks of drugs at home.” A newly released study found that teens increasingly see meth use as dangerous, and increasingly disapprove of marijuana use.
The fact that use of these two drugs is down as teen attitudes have changed is cause for optimism, say researchers, who believe that change is due to an increase in parents talking with their kids about drugs. Adolescents whose parents or caregivers discuss the risks of drug abuse with them are up to 50 percent less likely to use. Adults often find it difficult to broach the subject, but, says researcher Amelia Arria, “parents and teens are finding some common language.”
Teen attitudes toward abuse of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications remain troubling, however: 41 percent of teens believe they are less dangerous than illegal street drugs, which may help explain why one in five teens report having abused a prescription drug. Meanwhile, the study showed, parents are less likely to discuss the risks of these categories of drugs with their kids. “Too many parents are missing opportunities to talk about the intentional abuse of prescription and OTC medications, which is the most pressing and least understood threat to our kids,” says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
Fewer teens this year said they believed inhalants or performing-enhancing steroids posed great risks to their health, which could foreshadow an increase in both categories.
For more information and resources related to teen substance abuse, visit The Partnership for a Drug-Free America at www.drugfree.org or the Your Family section of our site.