CASA 2009 Teen Study Released: Attention All Parents

September 4th, 2009 by

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University released their annual National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIV: Teens and Parents.

This years survey reveals scary statistics for parents. CASA researchers surveyed American teens, aged 12-to-17 years old, about their drinking habits and attitudes, and found that, overwhelmingly, teens who have seen their parent(s) drunk are more likely to drink, and smoke marijuana and cigarettes themselves than those who don’t see their parents drunk.

About 51% of 17 year olds, and 34% of 12-17 year olds, have witnessed one or both parents drunk.

Drinking in teens is strongly linked to their perception of how their father feels about alcohol use–teens who believe their father is accepting of drinking are two-and-a-half times more likely to get drunk in a typical month than those teens whose fathers are not accepting. This is about 5% of 12-14 year old girls, 9% of 12-15 year old boys, 13% of 16 and 17 year old girls, and 20% of 16 and 17 year old boys.

Teen decisions are inextricably linked to parental expectations, behaviours, and messaging about alcohol use.

Furthermore, 65% of 12-17 year olds, and 85% of 17 year olds surveyed, who drink monthly, get drunk at least once per month; and a third of teen drinkers drink to get drunk, 85% of whom do so monthly. Of the teen drinkers who do not set out to get drunk, about 35% find themselves drunk at least once a month anyways.

Teens who get drunk on a monthly basis face a multitude of repercussions, including an increase likelihood of smoking pot and having friends who smoke pot; of being able to find marijuana in under an hour; to know someone who abuses prescription medication; and to know someone who uses other illicit drugs such as methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine, etc. Lastly, teens who get drunk regularly are more likely to know a girl who has been forced to something sexually, and to know a guy who uses drugs and alcohol to “hook up”.

Researchers at CASA strongly recommend to parents to reconsider their teens behaviour. Chances are if your teen is drinking, they are getting drunk; and if your teen is getting drunk, chances are they are using illicit drugs and engaging in other dangerous behaviours.