Teen Drug Use Decreasing, While OTC Drug Abuse Seems To Be Increasing
According to two recent studies published within the NIH (National Institute of Health), teen drug use seems to be continuing to fall. One study, published by NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) examined the effects of anti-drug programs on two evidence-based platforms-a family-based intervention and a school-based intervention using a partnership delivery system. The others involved just the usual programming. A total of over 11,000 in the sixth through 12th grades participated nationally. They found that the intervention systems were significantly more effective in preventing drug abuse. Hence, this suggests that the partnership delivery program has great potential.
The second study was conducted by several staff with the American Public Journal of Health. In particular, they sought to examine the effects of access to tobacco during adolescence and resulting smoking habits into adulthood. They conducted a paper survey for the years from 1998-2007 and over 100,000 adults 18-35 participated. Their questions ranged from smoking 100 cigarettes a day to ever having smoked at all from age 17 or younger on. They found that four out of nine policies had the potential to reduce smoking prevalence, but it seemed to be rather limited to women. Hence, their study suggests that lack of access to tobacco may reduce the likelihood for women to start smoking. Although they also found that it may reduce the likelihood of heavy smoking across both genders.
According to Treatment Solutions, the teen drug use decreasing is with illicit drugs, which continues to either hold steady or be declining. However, over-the-counter drug use has, unfortunately, been on the increase. Treatment Solutions estimates that even many parents may not be aware that using over-the-counter drugs recreationally can be harmful. Parents have been found to be more likely to discuss the effects of illicit drugs. As a result, Treatment Solutions suggests that parents should monitor any receipts from drug stores, grocery stores, etc., the trash or recycling cans for OTC drug packaging plus the usual physical and emotional changes.
If more than two bottles of cough medicine or aspirin are found in the teen’s possession, parents should take that as a red flag.
The bottom line is that while it’s great that illicit drug abuse is on the decrease, OTC drug abuse seems to be increasing.