Teen Births Down But Drug Use Up, Stats Say

Filed under: Research Reveals: Teens

teen drugs

More teens are taking illegal drugs, report shows. Credit: Nelson Antoine, AP

Worried your teenage daughter is having sex? Relax. odds are, she is only taking illegal drugs.

Thank you, Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, for that cheery bit of news.

The forum is a group of 22 members from federal agencies that collects data on children and families and puts together an annual report on America's children. This year, the report says teen births are down, but illegal drug use among the kiddies has increased.

First, the good news: CNN reports the teen birth rate went from 21.7 births per 1,000 girls in 2008 to 20.1 per 1,000 in 2009. More good news: Preterm births among teens declined for the third consecutive year. The number of babies born before 37 weeks dropped 12.3 percent in 2008 to 12.2 percent in 2009.

"It is reassuring to see continued declines in the preterm birth rate and adolescent birth rate," Alan Guttmacher, the director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, tells CNN.

But, although the numbers were promising, he adds that the federal government did not identify reasons for the declines.

Meanwhile on the dark side: The report finds the number of eighth-graders using illegal drugs going up. Statistically, in the last 30 days, 10 percent of eighth-graders used illegal drugs. That's up from 8 percent in 2009.

Also, more children are likely to be poor, and fewer children are likely to live with at least one parent who is working full time.

"This report documents some significant changes in several key areas," Sondik, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, tells CNN. "This annual report is an important tool to monitor the well being of our nation's children. Each area we report on is critical to our youth."

Some other tidbits from the report (titled America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2011):

· Injuries among teens dropped from 44 per 100,000 in 2008 to 39 per 100,000 in 2009.

· Binge drinking among 12th graders dropped from 25 percent in 2009 to 23 percent in 2010.

· Fewer children are living in areas of air pollution (69 percent in 2008, 59 percent in 2009).

· Math scores among eighth-graders rose two points from 2007 to 2009.

· Math scores for 12th graders rose three points from 2005 to 2009.

· More children are living in poverty, up from 19 percent in 2008 to 21 percent in 2009.

· More children are living in crowded housing, physically inadequate housing or housing that costs more than 30 percent of household income -- up from 43 percent in 2007 to 45 percent in 2009.

· The percentage of children with asthma remained the same from 2008 to 2009, but steadily increased from 8.8 percent of all children in 2001 to 9.6 percent in 2009. ·

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.