Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse 2004 | CASAColumbia

National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse IX: Teen Dating Practices and Sexual Activity

National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse IX: Teen Dating Practices and Sexual Activity

Published: August 2004

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Background

This survey aims to identify the situations, individual and family characteristics, and social factors that are associated with teen drug abuse and addiction. Its primary purpose is to track attitudes of teens and those, like parents, who have the greatest influence on whether teens will smoke, drink, get drunk, use illegal drugs or abuse prescription drugs.

CASAColumbia’s teen surveys have consistently found that the family is fundamental to keeping children away from tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs. Teen drug abuse plays a major role in addiction. People who do not use tobacco, alcohol or illicit drugs or misuse prescription drugs before age 21 are virtually certain never to do so. This report outline several teen drug abuse facts and teen drug abuse statistics.

Method

On behalf of CASAColumbia, QEV Analytics, a national public opinion research firm, conducted a nationally representative telephone-based survey of 1,000 teens, ages 12 to 17, and 500 parents, of whom 375 were parents of teens we interviewed.

Results

This survey found that the more sexually active friends a teen had and the more time a teen spent with a boyfriend or girlfriend, the greater the risk that teen would smoke, drink, get drunk or use illegal drugs.

This survey also included such teen drug abuse statistics as:

  • Compared to teens who had no sexually active friends, teens who reported that half or more of their friends were sexually active were more than 6.5 times likelier to drink, 31 times likelier to get drunk, 22.5 times likelier to have tried marijuana and more than 5.5 times likelier to have smoked
  • Teens who spent 25 or more hours a week with a boyfriend/girlfriend were 2.5 times likelier to drink, 5 times likelier to get drunk, 4.5 times likelier to have tried marijuana and more than 2.5 times likelier to smoke as teens who spent less than 10 hours a week with a boyfriend/girlfriend
  • Girls with boyfriends 2 or more years older were more than twice as likely to drink, almost 6 times likelier to get drunk, 6 times likelier to have tried marijuana and 4.5 times likelier to have smoked as girls whose boyfriends were less than 2-years older or who did not have a boyfriend
  • Teens who said that  half or more of their friends regularly viewed and downloaded Internet pornography were more than 3 times likelier to smoke, drink or use illegal drugs, compared to teens who had no friends who engaged in such behavior
  • 44% of high school students thought that boys at their school often or sometimes “push girls to drink alcohol or take drugs in order to get the girls to have sex or do other sexual things”

This survey also examined the frequency of physical fighting and cheating at schools where drugs were known to be used, kept or sold. At such schools, 62% of students reported seeing physical fights on a monthly basis, and students estimated that 54% of the student body regularly cheated on homework and tests, compared to 42% and 40%, respectively, at drug-free schools.

Other teen drug abuse statistics in this survey included parental perception of substance use, teens and parties, and teens and pornography.

A Note on the Language
In 2012, CASAColumbia stopped using words like “drug abuse”/“drug abuser” because the terms have negative connotations. Instead, we now distinguish between “addiction” (clinical criteria for the disease) and “risky use” (use of addictive substances in ways that increase the risk of harm but do not meet criteria for addiction). Some reports and other publications published prior to 2012 still contain this outdated language.

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