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Monday, September 9, 2013

The CBHSQ Report: A Day in the Life of American Adolescents: Substance Use Facts Update

In the United States in 2011, there were an estimated 25.1 million adolescents aged 12 to 17.1 In the past year, more than one quarter of adolescents drank alcohol, approximately one fifth used an illicit drug, and almost one eighth smoked cigarettes.2 Although the percentage of adolescents using alcohol, cigarettes, and illicit drugs declined between 2008 and 2011, the percentage of persons aged 12 to 17 receiving substance abuse treatment remained relatively stable.3 In addition, the number of adolescents seen in an emergency department (ED) for the use of illicit drugs and the misuse or abuse of pharmaceuticals remained stable from 2004 to 2011.4 In 2010, 7.3 percent of all persons admitted to publicly funded treatment facilities were aged 12 to 17.5

The Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) collects, analyzes, and disseminates critical public health data. CBHSQ manages four national data collections that offer insight into adolescent substance use and treatment: the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS), and the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN).6,7,8,9

This CBHSQ Report presents facts about adolescent substance use, including initiation, receipt of treatment, and emergency department visits for substance use "on an average or typical day."10 Data in this report from NSDUH, TEDS, and DAWN are for adolescents aged 12 to 17; data from N-SSATS are for youths aged 17 or younger.

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