A new report has found that 24 states scored five or lower out of 10 on key indicators of leading evidence-based policies and programs that can improve the well-being of children and youth and have been connected with preventing and reducing substance – alcohol, tobacco or other drugs – misuse.
The Reducing Teen Substance Misuse: What Really Works report, produced by Trust for America’s Health, found that among the most recent drug overdose death rates among 12- to 25-year-olds:
- Current rates were highest in West Virginia (12.6 per 100,000 youth) – which were more than five times higher than the lowest rates in North Dakota (2.2 per 100,000).
- Males are 2.5 times as likely to overdose as females (10.4 vs. 4.1 per 100,000).
- In 1999-2001, no state had a youth drug overdose death rate above 6.1 per 100,000. By 2011-13, 33 states were above 6.1 per 100,000.
In addition, youth marijuana rates have increased by nearly 6 percent since 2008 and more than 13 percent of high school students report using e-cigarettes. Youth from affluent families and/or neighborhoods report more frequent substance and alcohol use than lower-income teens – often related to having more resources to access alcohol and drugs.
The report highlights 10 indicators of the types of policy strategies that can help curb substance misuse by tweens, teens and young adults.
Parents: Tonight, serve a healthy serving on your dinner plate with a frank conversation about substance abuse addiction with your children. It’s part of a national awareness project called A National Night of Conversation. You can find a discussion guide here.