According to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an alarming number of adolescents are using drugs, alcohol and cigarettes on any average day.

The report provides the following statistics about daily adolescent substance use.

  • On an average day, 881,684 kids age 12 – 17 smoked cigarettes
  • On an average day, 646,707 smoked marijuana
  • On an average day, 457,672 drank alcohol

According to an article about the report by Science Daily –

“This data about adolescents sheds new light on how deeply substance use pervades the lives of many young people and their families,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. ” While other studies indicate that significant progress has been made in lowering the levels of some forms of substance use among adolescents in the past decade, this report shows that far too many young people are still at risk.”

I couldn’t agree with Ms. Hyde more. Although it is clear that great progress has been made in the battle against adolescent substance abuse, it is important to not allow that to outshine the significant number of kids who are using drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. Especially because the same report shows how many kids ages 12 – 17 are trying these substances for the first time on an average day.

On an average day:

  • 7,639 drank alcohol for the first time;
  • 4,594 used an illicit drug for the first time;
  • 4,000 adolescents used marijuana for the first time;
  • 3,701 smoked cigarettes for the first time; and
  • 2,151 misused prescription pain relievers for the first time

The need for continued focus on adolescent substance abuse can further be illustrated by the following statistics about the number of kids receiving substance abuse treatment on an average day.

Over 71,000 in outpatient treatment, More than 9,302 in non-hospital residential treatment, and Over 1,258 in hospital inpatient treatment.

It is clear that adolescent substance abuse is a serious concern in the United States and that there is a great need for continued focus on preventative measures as well as services for kids who need them.