• How pervasive is drug use among adolescents and emerging adults?
• What are the nature and effects of various drugs taken by adolescents and emerging adults?
• What factors contribute to adolescent and emerging adult drug use?
Trends in Overall Drug Use
• The 1960s and 1970s were a time of marked increases in the use of illicit drugs.
• Each year since 1975, Lloyd Johnston and his colleagues at the Institute of Social Research at the University of Michigan have monitored the drug use of America’s high school seniors in a wide range of public and private high schools. Since 1991, they also have surveyed drug use by eighth- and tenth-graders. In 2012, the study surveyed more than 45,000 secondary school students in almost 400 public and private schools (Johnston & others, 2013).
• According to this study, the proportions of eighth-, tenth-, and twelfth-grade U.S. students who used any illicit drug declined in the late 1990s and the first decade of the twenty-first century (Johnston & others, 2013) (see Figure 13.4)
• The most notable declines in drug use by U.S. adolescents in the twenty-first century have occurred for LSD, cocaine, cigarettes, sedatives, tranquilizers, and Ecstasy.
• As shown in Figure 13.4, in which marijuana is included, an increase in illicit drug use by U.S. adolescents occurred from 2008 to 2012. However, when marijuana use is subtracted from the illicit drug index, no increase in U.S. adolescent drug use occurred in this time frame (Johnston & others, 2013).
Alcohol• Binge drinking (defined in the University of Michigan surveys as having five or more
drinks in a row in the last two weeks) by high school seniors declined from 41 percent in 1980 to 28 percent in 2012.
• difference occurs in binge drinking, with males engaging in this behavior more than females do (Randolph & others, 2009).
• The transition from high school to college may be a critical transition in alcohol abuse(Johnston & others, 2012, 2013).
• In 2011, 35.5 percent of U.S. college students reported having had five or more drinks in a row at least once in the preceding two weeks (Johnston & others, 2012).
• The effects of heavy drinking take their toll on college students. In a national survey of drinking patterns on 140 campuses, almost half of the binge drinkers reported problems that included missing classes, physical injuries, trouble with police, and having unprotected sex (Wechsler & others, 1994).
• Drinking alcohol before going out—called pregaming—has become common among college students (Haas, Smith, & Kagan, 2013; Hummer & others, 2013; Silvestri & others, 2013). A recent study revealed that almost two-thirds of students on one campus had pregamed at least once during a two-week period (DeJong, DeRicco, & Schneider, 2010).
• Higher levels of alcohol use have been consistently linked to higher rates of sexual risk taking, such as engaging in casual sex, sex without contraceptives, and sexual assaults (Khan & others, 2012).
• A special concern is the increase in binge drinking by females during emerging adulthood that occurred during the 1990s and early part of the first decade of the twenty-fi rst century (Davis & others, 2010; Wemm & others, 2013).
• For occurrences in the last 30 days, college men (45 percent) still were far more likely to engage in binge drinking than were college women (29 percent) (Johnston & others, 2012).
Risk Factors in Alcohol Abuse
• Among the risk factors in adolescents’ and emerging adults’ abuse of alcohol are heredity, early alcohol consumption, family influences, peer relations, and education.
• Parents play an important role in preventing adolescent drug abuse (Wang, Kviz, & Miller, 2012).
• Positive relationships with parents and others can reduce adolescents’ drug use (Cleveland & others, 2012; West & others, 2013).
• Researchers have found that parental monitoring is linked with a lower incidence of drug use (Hurt & others, 2013; Tobler & Komro, 2010).
• A recent research review concluded that the more frequently adolescents ate dinner with their family, the less likely they were to have substance abuse problems (Sen, 2010). while parent-adolescent conflict was related to higher adolescent alcohol consumption (Chaplin & others, 2012).
• A recent study found that drinking by peers increased adolescents’ alcohol use (Cruz, Emery, & Turkheimer, 2012).
• The pressure to drink was stronger from male than female peers.
• An analysis by Jerald Bachman and his colleagues (2008) revealed that early educational achievement considerably reduced the likelihood that adolescents would develop drug problems, including those involving alcohol abuse, smoking, and abuse of various illicit drugs.
Hallucinogens • Hallucinogens, also called psychedelic (mind-altering) drugs, are drugs that modify an
individual’s perceptual experiences and produce hallucinations.
• LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is a hallucinogen that—even in low doses produces striking perceptual changes. Sometimes the images are pleasurable, sometimes unpleasant or frightening. LSD’s popularity in the 1960s and 1970s.
• In 1985, 1.8 percent of U.S. high school seniors reported LSD use in the last 30 days; in 1994, this increased to 4.0 percent. However, LSD use had declined to 2.3 percent in 2001 and dropped to 0.8 percent in 2012 (Johnston & others, 2013).
• Marijuana is a milder hallucinogen than LSD. marijuana also can impair attention and memory, smoking marijuana is not conducive to optimal school performance. Marijuana use by adolescents decreased in the 1980s.
• However, marijuana use by U.S. adolescents increased from 2008 to 2012, especially for twelfth-graders (Johnston & others, 2013). In 2012, 23 percent of U.S. twelfth-graders reported that they had smoked marijuana in the last 30 days.
Stimulants• Stimulants are drugs that increase the activity of the central nervous system. The most
widely used stimulants are caffeine, nicotine, amphetamines, and cocaine.
• Cigarette smoking (in which the active drug is nicotine) is one of the most serious yet preventable health problems. In the United States, smoking is likely to begin in grades 7 through 9.
• Since 1975, cigarettes have been the substance most frequently used on a daily basis by high school seniors (Johnston & others, 2013).
• Cigarette smoking is decreasing among adolescents (see Figure 13.5). Cigarette smoking among U.S. adolescents peaked in 1996 and 1997 and has gradually declined since then (Johnston & others, 2013).
• In 2012, the percentages of adolescents who said they had smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days were 17 percent.
• smoking in the adolescent years causes permanent genetic changes in the lungs and forever increases the risk of lung cancer, even if the smoker quits (Wiencke & others, 1999).
• The peer group especially plays an important role in smoking (Valente & others, 2013).In one study, the risk of current smoking was linked with peer networks in which at least half of the members smoked, one or two best friends smoked, and smoking was common in the school (Alexander & others, 2001).
• initiation of smoking in adolescence was linked to getting into trouble at school, poorer grades, and delinquency (Tucker & others, 2012).
• Cocaine can have a number of seriously damaging effects on the body, including heart attacks, strokes, and brain seizures.
• Use of cocaine in the last 30 days by high school seniors dropped from a peak of 6.7 percent in 1985 to 1.1 percent in 2012 (Johnston & others, 2013).
• About 1 of every 13 high school seniors has tried cocaine at least once.
• Amphetamines, often called “pep pills” and “uppers,” are widely prescribed stimulants, sometimes appearing in the form of diet pills.
• Use of amphetamines in the last 30 days by high school seniors declined from 10.7 percent in 1982 to 3.3 percent in 2012 (Johnston & others,2013). Although use of over-the-counter diet pills has decreased in recent years, 40 percent of today’s females have tried using diet pills by the time they graduate from high school.
• Ecstasy, the street name for the synthetic drug MDMA, has both stimulant and hallucinogenic effects.
• Ecstasy use can lead to dangerous increases in blood pressure, as well as a stroke or a heart attack.
• Ecstasy use by U.S. adolescents began in the 1980s and then peaked in 2000 to 2001.
• The downturn in reported use of Ecstasy coincides with adolescents’ increasing knowledge that Ecstasy use can be dangerous
Depressants• Depressants are drugs that slow down the central nervous system, bodily functions, and
• Among the most widely used depressants is alcohol, others include barbiturates and tranquilizers.
• They can produce symptoms of withdrawal when an individual stops taking them.
• use of barbiturates by high school seniors at least every 30 days in 1975 was 4.7 percent; in 2012, it was 2 percent (Johnston & others, 2013). Over the same time period, tranquilizer use also decreased from 4.1 percent to 2.1 percent for 30-day prevalence.
• Opiates, which consist of opium and its derivatives, depress the activity of the central nervous system. They are commonly known as narcotics.
• In 2012, 0.3 percent of high school seniors said they had used heroin in the last 30 days (Johnston & others, 2013).
Factors in Adolescent and Emerging Adult Drug Abuse
Early Substance Use
• Most adolescents become drug users at some point in their Development.
• One study revealed that individuals who began drinking alcohol before 14 years of age were more likely to become alcohol dependent than their counterparts who began drinking alcohol at 21 years of age or older (Hingson, Heeren, & Winter, 2006).
Parents, Siblings, Peers, and Schools
• Positive relationships with parents, siblings, peers and others can reduce adolescents’ drug use (Cleveland & others, 2012; Hohman & others, 2013; Valente & others, 2013).
• A recent study revealed that older siblings’ substance use was associated with their younger siblings’ patterns of use (Whiteman, Jensen, & Maggs, 2013).
The following sequence of factors was linked with the likelihood that an adolescent would take drugs by 12 years of age:
• Being born into a high-risk family (especially with a poor, single, or teenage mother)
• Experiencing an increase in harsh parenting in childhood
• Having conduct problems in school and getting rejected by peers in childhood
• Experiencing increased conflict with parents in early adolescence
• Having low parental monitoring
• Hanging out with deviant peers in early adolescence and engaging in increasedsubstance use
Educational success is also a strong buffer for the emergence of drug problems inadolescence (Henry & others, 2009).
Emerging Adulthood and Early Adulthood• Fortunately, by the time individuals reach their mid-twenties, many have reduced their use
of alcohol and drugs (Johnston &others, 2012).
• in a longitudinal study of more than 38,000 individuals from the time they were high school seniors through their early thirties, Jerald Bachman and his colleagues (2002) found that binge drinking peaked at 21–22 years of age and then declined from 23–24 to 31–32 years of age (see Figure 13.7).
Some of the main findings in the study are described below:
• College students drink more than youth who end their education after high school.
• Those who don’t go to college smoke more.
• Singles use marijuana more than married individuals do.
• Drinking is heaviest among singles and divorced individuals. Becoming engaged, married, or even remarried quickly brings down alcohol use. Thus, living arrangements and marital status are key factors in alcohol and drug use rates during the twenties.
• Individuals who considered religion to be very important in their lives and whofrequently attended religious services were less likely to take drugs than were theirless-religious counterparts.