“Parents are the most powerful influence in their teenagers’ lives. They are instrumental in preventing long-term drug use and its consequences. The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) found that teens that learned about the risks of alcohol and drugs from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use illicit substances; however, only about three in ten teenagers report learning about the dangers of substance abuse from their parents.” Andrea Barthwell, M.D.


Perceived Risk

Attitudes are an indicator of use. The greater the perception of harm the less the use. In 1979, 12th-graders’ lifetime use of marijuana was at 51 percent (the highest recorded) while around the same time (1975) their perception of harm associated with smoking marijuana occasionally was at 18.1 percent. Conversely, in 1991, 40.6 percent indicated there was harm associated with smoking marijuana occasionally, and in 1992 marijuana use was at 21 percent. In 2013, the percent indicating harm associated with smoking marijuana occasionally dropped to 19 percent and use climbed to 32.0 percent.

Messages youth receive are an indicator of use. In 1975, 54.8 percent of 12th-graders disapproved of people (who are 18 or older) smoking marijuana occasionally. In 1990, 80.5 percent and in 2013, 58.9 percent disapproved of smoking marijuana occasionally.

(Monitoring the Future National Survey Results on Drug Use, 1975 – 2013, 2013 Overview Key Findings on Adolescent Drug Use, http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/pubs/monographs/mtf-overview2013.pdf )


Drugs Are Most Important Problem Facing Teens

According to every one of CASA’s seventeen Back to School Surveys, the biggest problem facing teens is tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. In the National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XVII: Teens, 26 percent of teens said that alcohol, drugs and tobacco are the most important issue teens face, followed by social pressures and academic pressures.

(Back to School Survey, National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XVII: Teens, - Attending Religious Services : The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University CASA), August 2012. http://www.casacolumbia.org/addiction-research/reports/national-survey-american-attitudes-substance-abuse-teens-2012 )