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Teen Drug Use of Marijuana, Ecstasy on an Upswing
For a decade, drug use was declining among American teens, but it's progressively been rising during the last three years, according to a news release from the The Partnership at Drugfree.org.
The latest findings show there was a significant -- almost 70 percent -- spike in the number of teens who reported using the party drug ecstasy in the past year (from 6 percent in 2008 to 10 percent in 2010), the Partnership reports.
At the same time, marijuana use has jumped 22 percent -- from 32 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2010. On the alcohol front, 45 percent of teens say they do not see heavy drinking as "a great risk," 68 percent say they have had at least one drink in their lifetimes and the average age of taking a first drink was 14.
Researchers for the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study surveyed around 2,500 high school students in the 22nd annual study funded by the MetLife Foundation.
"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," Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org, says in the release.
Sean Clarkin, director of strategy for the Partnership, tells Reuters the growing acceptance of drug use in social media, the proliferation and discussion of medical marijuana and budget cuts to substance abuse prevention programs have contributed to the rise of substance use and abuse.
"There are very high levels of kids reporting that they are using drugs and alcohol to deal with stress," Clarkin tells Reuters, adding that the struggles families face in the current economy could be a factor in that.
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