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Hundreds of Thousands of Teens Use Pot, Alcohol Each Day: Report

THURSDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Despite recent gains against substance abuse by American teens, hundreds of thousands of them use marijuana and alcohol on a given day, U.S. health officials reported Thursday.

On a typical day, an estimated 881,684 kids aged 12 to 17 smoke cigarettes, 646,707 use marijuana and 457,672 drink alcohol, according to a report by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The number of teens smoking pot on a given day could almost fill the 250,000-seat Indianapolis Speedway two and a half times, the report pointed out.

"This data about adolescents sheds new light on how deeply substance use pervades the lives of many young people and their families," SAMHSA administrator Pamela Hyde said in an agency news release. "While other studies indicate that significant progress has been made in lowering the levels of some forms of substance use among adolescents in the past decade, this report shows that far too many young people are still at risk."

The report also said that on an average day:

  • 7,639 kids aged 12 to 17 drink alcohol for the first time,

  • 4,594 use an illicit drug for the first time,

  • 4,000 use marijuana for the first time,

  • 3,701 smoke cigarettes for the first time,

  • 2,151 misuse prescription pain relievers for the first time.

The report also provided numbers on how many 12- to 17-year-olds receive treatment for a substance abuse problem in a typical day:

  • More than 71,000 get outpatient treatment,

  • More than 9,300 receive nonhospital residential treatment,

  • An estimated 1,258 receive inpatient treatment at a hospital.

More information

For more on teens and substance abuse, visit the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

SOURCE: U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, news release, Aug. 29, 2013

Reviewed Date: --

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