With all the statistics that chronicle the rise of drug addiction, occasionally some good news arises. New statistics are showing that teen drug consumption is on the decline. This news is especially encouraging, because there is special importance placed on preventing and combatting drug consumption amongst young people.
With programs like D.A.R.E. (drug abuse resistance education), educational initiatives have been taken to educate students from young ages about the dangers of drugs, and how to avoid the temptations that come with youth. These new statistics show that teens are listening and choosing to avoid drugs.
Connection Between Drugs And Tobacco
The Department Of Health And Human Services reports that drug consumption by teens has steadily declined. While this many be surprising to some, it shows promising statistics that government initiatives to prevent drug addiction have been working. The White House Office Of National Drug Control Policy seems particularly encouraged by the news.
The preventative measures focus not only on illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine, but on what was perceived as the rising abuse of prescription drugs. Teens have statistically been abusing less of either types of drugs over the past decade according to recent research.
Besides government programs to curb drug abuse amongst teens, it appears that there is a correlation between declining drug use and tobacco use. The more teens smoke cigarettes or marijuana, it appears the more likely they are to use other drugs.
So besides declining drug consumption, teens are also smoking less overall than they have in the past. This could be the result of the theory that marijuana and cigarettes serve as gateway substances to other more dangerous drugs like opioids. By curbing usage of tobacco, teens are less likely to explore other drugs over time.
Marijuana Legalization Complicates The Issue
At the same time that teen drug use is declining, the debate over marijuana legalization still rages. And the effect that legalizing marijuana will have on teenagers is a particularly contentious issue. Now that anti-drug and tobacco education seems to be having a positive effect, experts worry that by legalizing marijuana it will embolden teens to gravitate towards marijuana, which may eventually lead to the abuse of other drugs.
According to studies, marijuana usage does seem to have a detrimental effect on teens’ performance in schools and may serve as a gateway drug. However, even with attitudes towards marijuana usage becoming more relaxed, the decline of teenage drug use has still continued. Likewise, besides tobacco usage, there also seems to be a downward trend of teen alcoholism.
A Continuing Process
And while these statistics are great news, educating teenagers about why not to use drugs or alcohol is a continuing process. Reportedly, between 2012 and 2013 the usage of illegal and prescription drugs remained relatively the same, which shows that anti-drug initiatives and education need to constantly be improved and researched.
And because of the promising results they seemed to have had, that shows that over time even greater results may be achieved. Overall a downward trend amongst teens has been noted pertaining to:
- Binge drinking
- Illegal drug usage
- Tobacco consumption
- Marijuana consumption
Teenagers live in a society where they have access to information and activities that many previous generations have not, through advancements in technology and education. Hopefully, this is also translating into teens learning how to educate themselves to make better choices about their futures, and the detrimental effects addiction can have.
And while overall usage has declined, there are still many teens who do abuse drugs and struggle with addiction. So they also need help in the battle against teen drug addiction. Besides educational programs aimed at teens, the decline in tobacco usage also seems to have had a positive effect. With the tobacco industry being heavily regulated, a spillover effect may be occurring when it comes to declining drug consumption amongst teens.