General statistics

· The United States comprises 4 percent of the world’s population but consumes more than half of the world’s mood-altering and painkilling pharmaceuticals and two-thirds of the world’s illegal drugs.P.M. Gahlinger, Illegal drugs: A complete guide to their history, chemistry, use and abuse (New York: Plume, 2004)

· The age at which children begin to smoke, drink and use marijuana has dropped below thirteen years. – Results from 2004 national survey by the Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

· Two-thirds of patients entering treatment for drug dependency were already abusing illegal drugs in their teens, before they had graduated high school or dropped out. - N. D. Volkow, Exploring the why’s of adolescent drug abuse, September 2004. Retrieved from http://www.nida.nih.gov/NIDA_notes

· Most teen pregnancy occurs, when one or both of the partners are high at the time of conception, and teens who become pregnant and drink or use drugs are likelier to have an abortion. - CAMY, Drinking and risky sexual behavior (Washington, DC 2003); Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, Substance use and risky sexual behavior: Attitudes and practices among adolescents and young adults, February, 2002 http://www.kff.org ; L. Remez, “Adolescent drug users more likely to become pregnant, elect abortion,” Family Planning Perspectives 23 (1992, 6): 281 -282.

Alcohol

· Underage drinkers consume 17.5% of the alcohol sold in the United States, beer continues to be the drug of choice among teens and sub-teens, and the age of initiating drinking continues to decline. – Journal of the American Medical Association 289 (8): 989-995. Results from 2001

· Teen drinking is the number one feeder of adult alcoholism, and children who start to drink before age fifteen are four times likelier to become alcoholics than those who don’t drink before they are twenty-one. – CASA, Teen Tipplers: America’s underage drinking epidemic (New York, 2003), 4.

· More than 1700 college students die of alcohol poisoning and alcohol-related injuries each year. – CASA, Wasting the best and the brightest: Substance abuse at America’s colleges and universities. (New York: 2007)

Illegal Drugs

· 2.4 million use cocaine and 600,000 use crack

· More than 500,000 people are hooked on heroin

· 1 million regularly use Ecstasy and hallucinogens like LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and PCP (phencyclidine).

· Mobile County Public Schools in Alabama reported on-campus pharming parties last year, including one involving a fifth grader. – ABC News, September 12, 2006

Prescription Drugs

· 4.5 million teens have used controlled prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Ritalin and Adderall to get high. – Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Key findings on teen drug trends 2005, 2006, retrieved November 29, 2006, http://www.drugfree.org

· 2 million of our children have used steroids – National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, Under the Counter, 4.

· As a tween, Eric Cox got hooked on painkillers he would borrow to relieve an aching wrestling injury. The painkiller made it difficult to concentrate so he got an Adderall from a friend. Getting pills was as easy as asking a friend or a classmate. By age 14, Eric was hooked on painkillers and Adderall. At 17 when he became paranoid, he went to his parents for help. – Indianapolis Star, May 8, 2006

· In seventh grade, Lexy Purdum, shopping with friends at the Kalamazoo mall, took Vicodin and methadone. She came home, took more drugs and went to bed around 10:30 p.m. Her mother found her dead in her room shortly after noon on Saturday, a few days before her 15th birthday. It was the second overdose death of an early teen in two weeks in Western Michigan. Merisha Nichols, age 14, died two weeks earlier after huffing fumes of a spray air freshener. – Grand Rapids Press, May 8, 2006

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