A new study shows that by the time most teens reach late adolescence, most of them have drank alcohol and abused illicit substances.
The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, revealed that 78 percent of U.S. teens had drank alcohol, and 47 percent of the group said they'd consumed 12 or more drinks in the past year. When it came to drug use, 81 percent of teens said they had the opportunity to use illicit substances, with 42.5 percent actually tried them.
A disturbing finding was that 15 percent of the teens met the criteria for lifetime alcohol abuse, and 16 percent could be categorized as drug abusers. The median age for alcohol abuse to begin was 14 with or without dependent behavior. The median age for drug abuse with dependence to start was at the age of 14 and teens who started abusing illicit substances at 15 were less likely to be dependent.
While there were no main gender differences in drug and alcohol abuse for teens age 13 to 16, between the ages of 17 to 18, males had much higher rates for alcohol and drug abuse.