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What Teens Have to Say About Nicotine, Alcohol & Other Drugs
In a previous blog post, we shared research we conducted with parents and other caregivers to understand the challenges they face parenting through the early teen years, especially as it relates to substance use during this critical period of brain development. Through one’s mid-20’s the brain is undergoing massive changes, developing critical capabilities for adulthood, like the ability to manage emotions, weigh the pros and cons of risk-taking, be prepared for consequences and problem-solve. The parents we talked with were curious about the risk factors associated with teen substance use and how to protect their kids.
Teen Insights into Drugs, Alcohol & Nicotine: A Survey
We surveyed more than 1,000 kids, aged 12-17, across the nation. Unlike some other national surveys of young people, our survey didn’t ask teens to report on their own use of substances. We instead asked about key risk factors for future use, especially having friends who engage in substance use and an intention to try substances at some point in time.
We wanted to answer questions such as:
What sources do teens rely on to get information about substance use?
How easy is it to get substances in their communities?
Have teens been exposed to illegal drug use in real life? If so, where do they most often see drugs being used?
How concerned would they be if they knew a friend was using substances?
What are the differences between what young teens think and experience in relation to substance use vs. older teens?
Can parents influence teen experimentation and early use?
We created this downloadable Parent Companion Guide to the original report of the survey findings, to help break down key findings and translate what that can mean for you and your family.