The recent release of the Partnership/MetLife Foundation Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) of teen drug use, and parent and teen attitudes toward substance use, shows both encouraging and alarming trends. The data point to notable increases in teen use of alcohol, marijuana and Ecstasy, marking an end to a decade of long declines in drug and alcohol use among young people. This coupled with the decline in “perceptions of harm,” among both teens and parents is a strong indication that American society may be in for a perfect storm of increased adolescent drug and alcohol abuse not experienced in the United States since the 1990s.
This storm is fed by a growing climate of parental denial, which sees teens agreeing that “being high feels good” and parents of teens who have drug and alcohol problems either waiting to act or taking no action at all to address the problem.
Delay is not only perilous but it can have tragic results…we know that all too well now.