WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A snapshot of an average day in the lives of U.S. teens shows hundreds of thousands are smoking, drinking and ingesting illegal drugs, according to a report from the federal government.
On an average day, nearly 1.2 million teenagers smoked cigarettes, 631,000 drank and 586,000 used marijuana, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found.
Nearly 50,000 used inhalants, 27,000 used hallucinogens, 13,000 used cocaine and 3,800 used heroin, SAMHSA said in its report.
“In the United States in 2006, one-third of adolescents aged 12 to 17 drank alcohol in the past year, one-fifth used an illicit drug and one-sixth smoked,” the report reads.
The report is based on a number of surveys, but mostly the National Survey on Drug Use, which uses in-depth interviews of more than 60,000 people.
It found that the percentage of adolescents using alcohol and drugs declined between 2002 and 2006.
“While other studies have shown that significant progress has been made in lowering the levels of substance abuse among young people in the last few years, this report shows many young people are still engaging in risky behavior,” SAMHSA Administrator Terry Cline said in a statement.
“By breaking the data down and analyzing it on a day-to-day basis, we gain a fresh perspective on how deeply substance abuse pervades the lives of many young people and their families,” he added.
The report also attempted to show how many adolescents ages 12 to 17 used illegal substances for the first time.
One any given day, it said:
— Nearly 8,000 adolescents drank alcohol for the first time
— 4,300 adolescents used an illicit drug for the first time
— 4,000 smoked cigarettes for the first time
— 3,600 adolescents used marijuana for the first time
— 2,500 youngsters abused pain relievers for the first time.
More than 76,000 children and teens were in outpatient treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, the report said, and 10,000 in non-hospital residential treatment.