Just Released: National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XVI: Teens and Parents

Teens Regularly Using Social Networking Sites Likelier to Smoke, Drink, Use Drugs — For the first time, CASA Columbia’s 2011 annual teen survey explores teen social network use in relation to teen substance abuse. The survey finds that teens ages 12-17 who spend any time in a typical day on social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace, or who have seen pictures on social networking sites of kids getting drunk, passed out, or using drugs, are likelier to smoke, drink or use drugs. The CASA Columbia survey also looks at the relationship between teens viewing suggestive teen programming and cyber bullying and how they can increase the likelihood of teen substance abuse. Seventy percent of teens report spending time on social networking sites in a typical day compared to 30 percent of teens who say they do not. This means that 17 million 12- to 17-year olds are social networking in a typical day. Compared to teens that spend no time on social networking sites in a typical day, teens that do are: • Five times likelier to use tobacco; • Three times likelier to use alcohol; and • Twice as likely to use marijuana. Other Key Findings Related to Teen Substance Abuse • Teens whose parents don’t agree completely with each other on what to say to their teen about drug use are more than three times likelier to use marijuana, and three-and-a-half times likelier to expect to try drugs in the future, than teens whose parents agree completely on what to say about drug use. • Teens whose parents do not agree completely with each other on what to say to their teen about drinking alcohol are twice as likely to use alcohol, than teens whose parents agree completely on what to say about drinking. • Teens who agreed with any of the following statements − “If a friend of mine uses illegal drugs, it’s none of my business,” “I should be able to do what I want with my own body,” or “It’s not a big deal to have sex with someone you don’t care that much about” − are three times likelier to use marijuana, twice as likely to drink alcohol, and much more likely to smoke cigarettes, compared to teens who disagreed with the statements. • For the fifth straight year, more than 60 percent of high school students say they attend schools where drugs are used, kept or sold on school grounds. Forty-two percent of 12- to 17-year olds report knowing at least one friend or classmate who uses illegal drugs, like acid, ecstasy, methamphetamine, cocaine or heroin, a 24 percent increase since 2007.
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