Each year the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) releases the results of the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) in September during National Recovery Month. Among the annual tracking of substance abuse and related behavioral health information, the ongoing survey finds patterns in usage statistics that help give not just a snapshot of consumption, but also help predict trends in drug and alcohol abuse.
The latest survey found some mixed results. Predictably, there was a rise in marijuana usage, given the legalization for adults in several states. However, one positive note was that alcohol consumption among adolescents decreased over the previous year. More specifically, past-month drinking among teens aged 12 t0 17 fell from 17.6 percent in 2002 to 11.5 percent by 2014.
Overall underage drinking is down over the past decade, but there was little change from the previous year when looking at binge drinking and heavy drinking rates. Some believe that the total usage statistics remain generally equal year after year, but the trends in the substances change. While plausible, this doesn’t negate the fact that less young people abusing alcohol equals an improvement in our society.