According to a recently released report, alcohol use among teenagers is down from a decade ago, but the use of marijuana and other drugs is on the rise.
The good news is that alcohol use among 12th graders in Washington state continues to decline. Thirty-two percent of 12th grade students report having drunk alcohol in the past 30 days, down a percentage point from 2012 and a full 10 percent from a decade earlier.
These numbers are from the Healthy Youth Survey, conducted every two years by the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Department of Health, the Department of Social and Health Service’s Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery, the Liquor and Cannabis Board, and the Department of Commerce.
Marijuana use, too — which, like alcohol, is restricted to use by those age 21 or older — has been somewhat stable in recent years, though numbers are much higher than they were a decade ago. In 2016, 26 percent of 12th graders — more than one in four — admitted to recent use of marijuana, down 1 percent from 2012 but up four percent from 2006.
The growing acceptance of cannabis, which is legal to use in Washington for those 21 and older, has raised health concerns.
Among teens, other illegal drug use — such as prescription drugs not prescribed, the use of painkillers to get high, and other illegal drugs — is up a percentage point to 8 percent but down from 9 percent in 2006.
Illegal drug use continues to be a problem across the board, among teens and adults alike.
The rise in popularity of the super-potent drug fentanyl, for example, has drawn great attention from law enforcement. Heroin continues to be widely used in Washington state, too, and synthetic marijuana — a dangerous cocktail of plants and various chemicals — is banned in all 50 states.
If you’re attacking a drug, alcohol or other dependency problem with a loved one, know that help is abundant and solutions are reachable. Educate yourself as much as you can on the topic and then seek out support, via family intervention, drug rehab or professional counseling.
As always, Bostec Inc. is here to help when it comes to testing and monitoring progress. Contact our office in Lynden, Washington, to talk with someone who can help guide you on the path to success.