Adolescent Alcohol and Drug Use: A Major Public Health Concern

A recent study conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Colombia University (CASA) reveled that teen substance abuse is a major public health problem in America, as 90 percent of American’s struggling with addiction started using substances before age 18. This report is a valuable resource that provides information about how American culture increases the risk of teen drug and alcohol abuse and addiction.

Report statistics:
• 75% of high school students have used addictive substances including tobacco, alcohol, marijuana or cocaine; 1 in 5 of them meets the medical criteria for addiction
• 46% of all high school students currently use addictive substances; 1 in 3 of them meets the medical criteria for addiction
• 72.5 % of high school students have drunk alcohol
• 46.3% of high school students have smoked cigarettes
• 36.8% have used marijuana
• 14.8% have misused controlled prescription drugs
• 65.1% have used more than one substance

Because the teenage brain is underdeveloped, it is likely that teens will take more risks including using drugs and alcohol that interfere with brain development and increase their risk of addiction.
The findings of the CASA report reveal that teenage smoking, drinking and use of illegal drugs is a public health epidemic which presents dangers to teenagers as well as expensive long-term consequences for America.

At Fairbanks, we offer a variety of programs for teens and their families including: educational groups, detox and rehab, outpatient treatment, long-term residential living (HOWSE) and recovery management. Our goal is to assist each adolescent in identifying the changes they need to make in their life and give them the recovery tools they need for a substance free and successful life.