Friday, April 8, 2011
Drug and alcohol use among teenagers had been on a decline for a number of years, but, according to new research that trend is changing with more teenagers from ages 12 and up using drugs and alcohol. In the last three years ecstasy use among teenagers has risen 67 percent with one in 10 teens now using it, with marijuana use up 22 percent and four in 10 teens now smoking pot, according to The Partnership at Drugfree.org. Drugs are not taboo like they once were, more teens are being exposed to certain drugs in a way that presents them as less dangerous which makes trying them that much easier. "People look down upon someone who smokes cigarettes more than they look down upon weed," said high school senior Samantha Gerson.
When it came to alcohol, 71 percent of teens have a drink before they leave high school, with kids on average starting at just 14 years old and twenty-five percent of them have had a drink by age 12. So why the sudden increase in drug and alcohol use among teens? One reason for the rise has to do with the government, as well as parents, becoming more complacent about drugs and the dangers associated with them. "Over this last decade there has been less of a message getting out if you will," said Steve Pasierb, president of The Partnership at Drugfree.org. "A lot of the programs that used to exist have been cut, through successive rounds of budget cuts."
Teens are not just partying on weekends and special occasions, some teens are drinking and smoking weed all week long. "There's people who do it after school, during school, on the weekends," said high school senior Rafe Aksad. "You come and relax after the party by getting high and drinking," said Gerson. "It's never ending."