Representational image PIXABAY

Many teenagers in the United States are using drugs to deal with stress and anxiety, a new study by the Centers for Disease Control showed.

Among the key findings, 60% of those surveyed indicated substance use in the past 30 days, with marijuana being the most commonly reported substance (84%), followed by alcohol (49%).

Nonprescription drug use was reported in 21% of cases, with methamphetamine (8%), cough syrup (7%), and hallucinogens (6%) being the most prevalent. Prescription drug misuse was reported in 19% of cases, with prescription pain medication (13%), prescription sedatives or tranquilizers (11%), and prescription stimulants (9%) being the most commonly misused.

Adolescents' motivations for substance use were diverse, with the most common reasons being to feel mellow, calm, or relaxed (73%). The answer comes amid a mental health crisis at a national level, with people from this demographic usually showing higher prevalence.

The second highest answer was to have fun or experiment (50%), and to sleep better or fall asleep (44%). The study also highlighted that 50% of adolescents reported using substances alone, while 81% reported using substances with friends. The fact that over half of respondents who reported prescription drug misuse did so while alone, presenting a concerning risk for fatal overdoses.

The study emphasizes the potential impact of mental health on substance use, with motivations related to alleviating depression or anxiety being reported by 40% of adolescents. It underscores the importance of addressing mental health concerns to potentially reduce substance use among adolescents.

The report suggests harm reduction education tailored to adolescents could discourage substance use while alone and educate them on recognizing and responding to overdoses. The findings also point to the need for increased awareness of local Good Samaritan laws, which protect individuals providing emergency care during an overdose. Additionally, ensuring access to evidence-based treatment for substance use disorder and mental health conditions is seen as crucial in reducing overdose risk among adolescents.

However, the study has limitations, including a non-generalizable convenience sample and self-reported data susceptible to biases. Despite these limitations, the insights derived from this analysis can inform public health practices, emphasizing the importance of tailored interventions to improve adolescent well-being and reduce harms associated with substance use.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.