Rising Drug Use Among Youth Seen in Parts of Arizona

Pima County has reported such an increase in drug abuse among teenagers that it is now higher than the state average. As drug use continues to rise in many parts of the country, it is important for individual states and counties to take stock of their residents and the potential for drug abuse. In a state like Arizona, which has problems at the border with the illegal drug trade, it seems that the state’s youth is possibly more at risk than in other areas.

According to reports, there were 48,000 students surveyed and it was discovered that more students are abusing marijuana than they are cigarettes. 21 percent of eighth graders have tried marijuana at least once in their lifetime, while 19 percent of eighth graders have tried cigarettes at least once. Half of high school seniors have tried marijuana as well. While many students report getting marijuana from friends, there is a growing percentage who are purchasing marijuana by using a medical marijuana card. This may be a contributing factor of the increased number of teenagers abusing the drug.

Perhaps even more alarming than the marijuana use in the county is the prescription drug abuse. More than 10 percent of eighth graders reported abusing prescription painkillers at least once in their lives, while 21 percent of high school seniors have abused prescription drugs. The medications in this survey included opiates like Oxycontin and Percocet, as well as stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin and sedatives like Xanax and Ativan.

Alcohol is another substance being abused at a higher rate than in other parts of the state. The state reports that average for underage alcohol abuse is 67 percent, while 72 percent of Pima County teenagers are abusing alcohol.

Unchecked substance abuse in the teenage years often escalate to larger problems and addictions requiring treatment as they get older. If you have a loved one in Arizona in need of rehabilitation help for drug or alcohol abuse, contact Decisoin Point Center today to find out more about the programs we offer.