MONDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) - More than a third of American teenagers are turning to alcohol or drugs, with 32 percent saying they drink, 19 percent saying they use drugs and 15 percent saying they do both, a new study shows.
An even closer look at the data found that Native American teens were the most likely ethnic group to use drugs or alcohol, with almost 48 percent admitting they have done so in the past. In addition, among the nearly 8 percent of teens whose use of alcohol or drugs was deemed addictive, 15 percent were Native Americans, the researchers found.
"Adolescents continue to use drugs and alcohol in very high numbers at very young ages," said Bruce Goldman, director of substance abuse services at Zucker Hillside Hospital of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, in Glen Oaks, N.Y. "The substances they tend to abuse are marijuana, alcohol and, more recently, prescription narcotics as well."
"The younger people are when they begin to use/abuse substances, the more likely they are to develop lifelong problems," Goldman added. "So we want to focus on delaying the onset of use of substances as long as possible, including alcohol.
"You also want to intervene early, and hopefully forestall or prevent lifelong suffering in their families, themselves," Goldman said. "At an early stage, there is a lot of effective treatment that could help young people overcome these issues."
"These findings call for efforts to identify and expand prevention measures that are culturally effective and address the quality and acceptability of treatment for adolescents with substance use problems," said lead study author Li-Tzy Wu, a professor in the department of psychiatry of behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center.
The report was published in the November issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
For the study, Wu's team collected d
All rights reserved