Below are data from the report on aspects of youth and adolescent behavioral health and substance use. Overall, the state percentages are comparable to national percentages, with higher proportions in reported cigarette use and binge drinking.
For Pennsylvania in 2013/2013-14:
approximately 84,000 adolescents (12 to 17 years old), just under 9 percent of all adolescents, used illegal drugs during the month prior.
6.6 percent of adolescents used cigarettes within the last month – this is higher than the national data point of 5.2 percent.
16.5 percent of adolescents binged on alcohol within the last month – again, higher than the national percentage of 14 percent.
198,088 youth (under 18 years of age) received services from the public mental health system, with 63.5 percent reporting improvement post-treatment, lower than the national data point of 69.5 percent.
Report Citation: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Behavioral Health Barometer: Pennsylvania, 2015. HHS Publication No. SMA–16–Baro–2015–PA. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2015.
The research team assessed the children’s level of familiarity with tobacco branding, their intention to smoke in the future, and their overall exposure to media. Among 5-and-6-year-old children in the six counties, nearly 68 percent were able to identify one tobacco logo and more than 25 percent could identify two or more. Higher levels of media exposure were not necessarily associated with better knowledge of tobacco brands. However, in three of the sample countries the presence of an adult in the home was also not a significant factor in brand knowledge, suggesting that advertising plays a role in the exposure of very young children to tobacco brands and smoking behavior.
Study Citation: Pires, P. P., Ribas, R. C., Borzekowski, D. L. G. (2015). Attitudes and intentions to smoke: a study of young Brazilian children. Child: Care, Health and Development.1365-2214 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cch.12240
According to a brief summarizing 2013 NSDUH data from the Substance Abuse and Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), last year more than half of Americans 12-years-and-over (52.2 percent) reported currently using alcohol, with approximately 23 percent classified as binge drinkers (defined as 5 or more drinks in one occasion). Just over 6 percent self-reported as heavy drinkers – 16.2 million adults and 293,000 12-to-17 year-olds. However, the use of alcohol within the past month and binge drinking both decreased among the 12-to-17-year-old group compared to 2012 data, from 12.9 percent to 11.6 percent and 7.2 percent to 6.2 percent, respectively.
Regarding drug use, 9.4 percent of adults used illicit drugs in 2013 with marijuana (7.6 percent), non-medical use of prescription drugs (1.7 percent) and cocaine (0.6 percent) as the top three drugs currently used. Among adolescents, 8.8 percent reported currently using drugs. Again, marijuana (7.1 percent) and non-medical use of prescriptions (2.2 percent) were the most popular currently used illicit substances, followed by hallucinogens (0.6) and inhalants (0.5).
Some of the reasons for not receiving drug and/or alcohol treatment by those who attempted to secure it (based on 2010-2013 data) include
lack of health care coverage or inability to afford the cost – 37.3 percent,
not ready to stop usage – 24.5 percent,
unsure of where to find treatment – 9 percent, and
health coverage that did not include rehabilitation – 8.2 percent.
Citation: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (September 4, 2014). The NSDUH Report: Substance Use and Mental Health Estimates from the
2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Overview of Findings. Rockville, MD.
Early alcohol and drug prevention efforts and enhanced treatment options for youth may play a key role in reducing the likelihood of future substance abuse according to a new brief from SAMHSA. The report, Age of Substance Use Initiation among Treatment Admissions Aged 18-to-30, presents data that suggest the age of first drug use is associated with need for treatment later in life; specifically, persons reporting an earlier age of initiation were 1) more likely to be admitted to treatment and 2) abuse multiple substances. In 2011, nearly three-quarters of the 18-to-30 year olds admitted for substance abuse treatment began using when under the age of 17, 34 percent between the ages of 15-17, 30 percent between the ages of 12-14, and 10 percent at age 11 and under. Of those who began using substances at age 11 or younger, 78 percent reported abusing at least two substances at the time of intake.
Other interesting takeaways from the report:
63 percent of treatment admissions of people 18 to 30 years old were male, and males were more likely than females to start using substances at earlier ages
Among those reporting first drug use at 11 or younger, marijuana and alcohol were the most commonly used substances
Among those reporting first drug use at age 25 or over, heroin and prescription pain medication were the most commonly used substances
Nearly 39 percent of the persons admitted to treatment whom first used a substance at age 11 or younger reported a co-occurring mental disorder – the highest rate of any of the age groups
As the age of first use of drugs or alcohol increases, the number of substances abused at time of admission to addiction treatment declines. The authors also note that adolescents can grow into habitual abuse of alcohol and drugs within three years of initiation. These data indicate the need for continuous but targeted preventative interventions with elementary-to-middle-school-age students. For example, the risk factors for young children are usually related to the family, whereas adolescents may experience ongoing pressure from peers who use illegal substances, so strategies to address these factors while building up protective factors will also vary.
Information on drug prevention programs and resource guides for parents and teachers are available at the SAMHSA website.
Report Citation: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (July 17, 2014).The TEDS Report: Age of Substance Use Initiation among Treatment Admissions Aged 18 to 30. Rockville, MD.