Survey results suggest they might be more likely to try alcohol, illegal drugs
THURSDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- American teens believe that smoking cigarettes is riskier than using illicit drugs or binge drinking, a new government report shows.
That perception may increase the likelihood that they'll experiment with alcohol or illegal substances, the report authors said.
"We are on the right track with cigarette smoking and need to keep raising awareness among teens about the dangers of other substances," Pamela S. Hyde, administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), said in a news release from the agency. "Understanding that perception of harm is a strong predictor of potential substance use among young people can help guide the development of substance prevention messages."
Responses from 44,979 adolescents, aged 12-17, who took part in the 2007 and 2008 SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that teens' perception of cigarette-related risk was constant among all groups, but there was considerable age- and gender-related variation in perception of risk associated with other types of substances.
Among the key findings:
The American Academy of Family Physicians offers advice on how parents can prevent substance abuse in children.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, news release, Dec. 17, 2009
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