Adolescents are seeing fewer substance abuse prevention messages, report shows

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that from the years 2002 to 2011, the percentage of teens receiving substance abuse prevention messages fell from 83.2 percent (2002) to 75.1 percent (2011). This may coincide with the drop in school-based prevention programs from 78.8 percent (2002) to 74.5 percent (2011).

Another study showed how adolescent attitudes toward substance abuse changed as did their patterns of use. Perceived risk of smoking marijuana once or twice a week decreased in adolescents from 54.6 percent (2007) to 44.8 percent (2011). During this, marijuana use rose from 6.7 percent (2007) to 7.9 percent (2011).

SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said, “It is time for all of us – the public health community, parents, teachers, caregivers, and peers – to double our efforts in educating our youth about substance use and engaging them in meaningful conversations about these issues, so that they can make safe and healthy decisions when offered alcohol or drugs.”

SAMHSA and the Office of National Drug Control Policy oversee the Drug Free Communities Support Program (DFC) grants and have been doing so since 2005 as an effort to improve substance abuse prevention messages reaching adolescents. DFC grants work to strengthen and collaborate community coalition efforts to reduce substance abuse among youth. To date, DFC grants have been awarded to 2,000 community coalitions in need of funding so their communities can enhance awareness associated with substance abuse.

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