Back to School...on Drugs?

In annual survey, teens say prescription drugs and pot are easy to get

Kids packing lunches and pills?
Kids packing lunches and pills?

Teens who have seen their parents drunk at least once are twice as likely to get drunk, and three times as likely to smoke pot or cigarettes, according to a new study from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

This the the 15th year CASA has released a back-to-school drug-use report based on a survey of 1,000 adolescents ages 12-17. The purpose of the study, says CASA, is to identify "situations and characteristics" that influence teens to try or use drugs -- but, notably, it is not an epidemiological survey of use (like the National Institutes of Health annual report on drug use, or the Monitoring the Future survey of adolescent drug use). Indeed, while the MTF survey has shown that 72% of teens use alcohol by the time they graduate high school, just 33% of the teens surveyed for the CASA study said they'd ever tried the stuff.

That said, some of the CASA findings are pretty interesting. For example, a third of teens (or what would be roughly 9 million) say they could get access to prescription drugs within a day; one-in-five (which comes out to about 4.7 million) say they could score in less than an hour. For the second year in a row, most teens say scrip drugs are easier to buy than beer.

Indeed, forget about any assurances that we're actually winning the War on Drugs (which seems to have taken a holiday where it concerns teens access to marijuana): According to CASA, based on their survey results, 40% of teens say they could buy pot within the day, while 25% say they could procure pot in less than an hour. The number of teens who say finding pot for sale is easier than finding beer, cigarettes, or scrips has increased 37% since 2007.

You can find the whole report here.

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