On Any Given Day, Hundreds of Thousands of American Teens Abuse Drugs, Report Finds

On any given day in America, more than a million teens smoke cigarettes, while hundreds of thousands abuse drugs and alcohol, according to a report released Thursday from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The report, "A Day in the Life of American Adolescents: Substance Use Facts," presents a stark picture of the daily toll substance abuse takes on America's young. The findings are based on a number of surveys, including the National Survey on Drug Use, which interviews more than 60,000 people annually.

According to the report, on any given day in 2006, nearly 1.2 million teenagers smoked cigarettes, 631,000 drank alcohol and 586,000 used marijuana.

Additionally, nearly 50,000 adolescents used inhalants, 27,000 used hallucinogens, 13,000 used cocaine and 3,800 used heroin.

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"While other studies have shown that significant progress has been made in lowering the levels of substance abuse among young people in the last few years, this report shows many young people are still engaging in risky behavior," said SAMHSA administrator Terry Cline in a news release.

The figures were presented at the Double Jeopardy CASACONFERENCE on co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorder in young people at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

The report also found that on any given day, among youths age 12 to 17:

— Nearly 8,000 drank alcohol for the first time

— 4,300 used an illicit drug for the first time

— Around 4,000 adolescents smoked cigarettes for the first time

— Nearly 3,600 adolescents used marijuana for the first time

— About 2,500 adolescents abused pain relievers for the first time.

The report also said that on an average day in 2005, more than 76,000 youths participated in outpatient substance abuse treatment; more than 10,000 were in non-hospital residential treatment; and more than 1,000 were in hospital inpatient treatment.