NEW YORK, N.Y. – Following a decade of steady declines, a new report released Wednesday shows disturbing trends in teen drug and alcohol use since 2008. The 22nd annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, sponsored by MetLife Foundation, shows that teens are using ecstasy and marijuana in larger numbers and starting to drink alcohol by age 14.
Ten percent of teens reported using ecstasy last year, up from six percent in 2008. Reported marijuana use increased from 32 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2010.
Of those teens who reported alcohol use, a majority (62 percent) said they had their first full alcoholic drink by age 15, not including sipping or tasting alcohol. Among teens who reported drinking alcohol, the average age of first alcohol use was 14.
“As teen drug and alcohol use take a turn for the worse, a heavier burden is placed squarely on the shoulders of parents – who need to take an active role in preventing substance abuse in their families, take action if they suspect their child is using and get immediate help for a child who has developed a problem with drugs or drinking,” said Angelo Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, the New Jersey affiliate of The Partnership at DrugFree.org. “We are troubled, but not completely surprised, by these numbers because, in schools and communities across the country, support for drug education and prevention programs has been cut drastically due to budgetary pressures.”
For more information, or to view the full report, visit drugfree.org. The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey will release its 8th Annual Parents’ Attitudes & Behaviors Toward Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention on May 18.
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