Skip to main content

Teen drug use on declining trend

September 17, 2014

The Obama Administration released new 2013 health survey data showing a 13 percent decline in drug use among those age 12 to 17 since 2009. And it’s a trend. Youth drug use is down 24 percent over the past decade, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

NSDUH also found a decline in recent binge drinking within the adolescent population from 12.9 percent in 2012 to 11.6 percent in 2013 as well as a downward trend in nonmedical use of painkillers.

The barriers to treatment still exist however. According to the data:

  • In 2013, an estimated 22.7 million individuals aged 12 or older in 2013 needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem (8.6 percent of the population aged 12 or older).

  • Among the 22.7 million individuals 12 or older who needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem, an estimated 2.5 million received treatment at a specialty facility for an illicit drug or alcohol problem.

  • This means that 20.2 million individuals needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem but did not receive treatment at a specialty facility in the past year.

The president has requested $25.5 billion in Fiscal Year 2015 to support The National Drug Control Strategy announced in July by the Obama administration.  Federal funding for public health programs that address substance use has increased every year, and the portion of the nation’s drug budget spent on drug treatment and prevention efforts (43%) has grown to its highest level in over 12 years, according to the White House.

The national strategy works to expand programs such as Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) that can help reduce adverse health and safety consequences from substance use. Goals also include working to lift the stigma associated with substance use disorders by partnering with those in the recovery community to speak out about their successes and encourage others to seek treatment.

More information from SAMHSA is here

Back to Top