Statistics and other data regarding drug use and other risk-taking behavior among young people, as well as drug policies related to young people including prevention, education, social development, healthcare, mental health, and criminal justice.

Prescription Medicine Abuse

(Prescription Medicine Abuse) "It is important to note that the negative consequences of prescription medicine abuse remain extensive and troubling. Emergency room visits as a result of prescription medications increased 45 percent between 2004 and 2009 among children under 20 years of age1. Admissions to treatment for prescription medicine abuse among adolescents have also increased and deaths caused by drug overdoses, led by prescription medicines, now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States2."

Illicit Use of Prescription Drugs

(Illicit Use of Prescription Drugs) "Abuse of prescription medicine [by teens] remains high, but there are signs that it may be plateauing. Close to one in five teens (17 percent) say they have used a prescription medicine at least once in their lifetime to get high or change their mood. This is slightly, although not significantly, down from 22 percent in 2010 and from 20 percent in 2009. Use of prescription pain medicines, specifically Vicodin or OxyContin, is trending downward.

Importance of Relationship with Parents

(Importance of Relationship with Parents) "Teens who have high-quality relationships with Mom and Dad are less likely to use drugs, drink or smoke.
"Compared to teens who say they have an excellent relationship with Dad,* teens who have a less than very good relationship with their father are:
• Almost four times likelier to have used marijuana (23 percent vs. 6 percent);
• Twice as likely to have used alcohol (35 percent vs. 16 percent); and
• Two and a half times as likely to have used tobacco (15 percent vs. 6 percent).

Risk Taking and the Adolescent Brain

(Risk Taking and the Adolescent Brain) "In sum, risk taking declines between adolescence and adulthood for two, and perhaps, three reasons. First, the maturation of the cognitive control system, as evidenced by structural and functional changes in the prefrontal cortex, strengthens individuals’ abilities to engage in longer-term planning and inhibit impulsive behavior.

Depression, Mood Disorders, and Marijuana Use

(Depression, Mood Disorders, and Marijuana Use) "Depressive disorders have an association with alcohol abuse or dependence and cannabis dependence. There are also reciprocal effects of suicidality and substance use. Mood disorders (including bipolar disorders — hypomania and mania) predict increased rates for cannabis use and cannabis use disorder. For anxiety disorders, results were variable."

Predictors of Substance Use

(Predictors of Substance Use) "Social learning variables, peer attitudes (prevalence of norms favourable to deviant behaviour), personal approval (adoption of deviant norms), and peer behaviour have an effect on frequency of alcohol use and alcohol abuse. Alcohol expectancies and peer delinquency predict alcohol consumption of adolescents.
"Going out most evenings and the use of cannabis by peers and older siblings is associated with adolescents’ use of cannabis.

Marijuana Use and Educational Attainment

(Marijuana Use and Educational Attainment) “Teen marijuana users are approximately twice as likely as non-users to drop out of high school.234 One study found that, compared to students who did not use marijuana at all in the past year, those who used marijuana less than weekly were 2.6 times as likely to be school dropouts (5.8 percent vs. 2.2 percent) and those who used marijuana at least weekly were 5.8 times as likely to be school dropouts (12.8 percent vs.

Depression and Marijuana Use

(Depression and Marijuana Use) “High school students in CASA’s survey who report having ever used marijuana are more likely than students who never used marijuana to report that they feel alone or isolated (26.7 percent vs. 19.9 percent), that they often feel very sad or depressed (27.9 percent vs. 14.0 percent) and that they think they will develop depression during their lifetime (41.0 percent vs. 25.4 percent).7

Delay in Onset of Substance Use

(Delay in Onset of Substance Use) “Each year that the onset of substance use is delayed until the mid-20s - about the time when the human brain is more fully developed10 — the risk of developing a substance use disorder is reduced.11 Among people who used any of these substances before age 18, one in four have a substance disorder, compared with one in 25 who started to smoke, drink or use other drugs at age 21 or later.”12