Those who start using before 18 are six times more likely to become addicts, report says
Nearly half of all U.S. high school students currently smoke, drink or use other drugs, and a third of users meets the medical criteria for addiction, according to a report out Wednesday.
Adolescent substance use is “the number one public health problem any way you look at it,” says Susan Foster, the report’s lead researcher. Foster serves as vice president and director of policy research and analysis at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, or CASA, at Columbia University. “This is an epidemic.”
Although teen use of cigarettes, marijuana and prescription drugs has declined in recent years, Foster says, “the improvements seem to have stalled,” and the use of smokeless tobacco has been rising since 2003.