Kids + Teens with Substance Use

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends screening children starting at age 9

for substance-use. In mental health outpatient settings such as CARE Counseling, concerns are assessed for all children, with screening done for children 10 and older.

While alcohol is the most abused among youth, marijuana and tobacco are the most used among youth. Check out the following drug abuse statistics.

  • 62% of youth in 12th grade have abused alcohol
  • 6.9% of 12th graders use marijuana daily and 35.2% consumed marijuana in the last year
  • 62.8% of 12th graders who used marijuana in the last year consumed marijuana via vaping
  • Approx. 4 in 10 9th-12th grade students reported having tried cigarettes

In addition to alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco, youth are at-risk for misuse of other illicit substances such as prescription painkillers, inhalants, party drugs, steroids or hormones, and opioids.  Opioid abuse in youth includes prescription drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin. Fentanyl and heroin are other examples of opioids.

As parents and caregivers concerned with the overall well-being of kids and teens, screening for substance use can help identify and address concerns early. The consequences of substance use can be quite devastating, especially among young people who are still developing, struggling with mental health,  and more be more prone to risky or impulsive behaviors. Various types-of-drugs affect the body and brain in different ways, with some drugs such as marijuana falling in 2+ categories.

Did you know that between 2016-2020 drug-use went up 61% among 8th graders?

If you are concerned about drug or alcohol use in your child or teen there are options available for drug/ alcohol screening as well as early brief intervention programs such as Hazelden Betty Ford’s Teen Intervene Program. Services include education, support and guidance for teens and parents. For more information, call 1-866-831-5700.

CARE Counseling has a team of clinicians with experience working with substance use concerns, including clinicians who are Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors (LADC) and therapists who specialize working with kids and teens. You can also contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Hotline at 1-800-662-4357 for referral and treatment options in your area.

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