SUMMER IS PEAK TIME FOR TEENS TO TRY DRUGS, ALCOHOL

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Experts advise parents to be alert, help kids structure their days

By: Steven Reinberg

TUESDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) — More teenagers start drinking and smoking cigarettes and marijuana in June and July than in any other months, U.S. health officials say.

During each of those summer days, more than 11,000 teens on average use alcohol for the first time, 5,000 start smoking cigarettes and 4,500 try marijuana, according to the report, which was released Tuesday by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“These months include periods when adolescents are on a break from school and have more idle time; they have fewer structured responsibilities and less adult supervision,” said Dr. H. Westley Clark, director of the administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

The findings are based on data from the administration’s annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health for the years 2002 to 2012, which include interviews with more than 230,000 teens.

December is the only other month in which substance-start rates approach June and July levels, according to the report.

During the rest of the year, daily first-time alcohol use runs from 5,000 to 8,000 occurrences a day. Approximately 3,000 to 4,000 teens start smoking cigarettes, and about the same number try marijuana, according to the report.

More teenagers start using hallucinogens and inhalants in the summer, the researchers found. There was, however, no such increase in those starting to use cocaine or abuse prescription drugs.

Parents need to know that summertime is when their teens are more likely to start smoking, drinking and using drugs, Clark said.

Continue Reading: health.usnews.com

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