FEDERAL STUDY LINKS WIDE RANGE OF BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS TO MARIJUANA
USE BY TEENS
A SAMHSA REPORT: Adolescent Self-Reported
Behaviors and their Association with Marijuana Use
PRINCIPAL FINDING: htmlAdolescents,
ages 12 to 17, who used marijuana in the past year were more likely than
nonusers to report problem behaviors. In most cases, the more frequent the
use, the more likely the youths were to report these problems, including
running away from home, stealing, skipping school, selling drugs, drunk
driving, and suicidal thoughts.
htmlThe report, Adolescent
Self-Reported Behaviors and their Association with Marijuana Use,
was published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
and is based on analysis of data from the 1994 through 1996 National Household
Surveys on Drug Abuse (NHSDA). According to the report:
- Adolescents, age 12 to 17,
who use marijuana weekly are nine times more likely than non-users to
experiment with illegal drugs or alcohol; six times more likely to run
away from home; five times more likely to steal; nearly four times more
likely to engage in violence; and three times more likely to have thoughts
about committing suicide.
- Adolescent marijuana users
were more prone than non-users to behaviors such as destruction of property
and physical attacks on other teens and were more likely to admit to having
lied or cheated.
SAMHSA's NHSDA is conducted yearly
to estimate the prevalence of misuse of legal drugs and use of illegal drugs
in the U.S., as well as to monitor trends in prevalence of drug use over time.
In the years 1994 through 1996, the NHSDA incorporated a "Youth Self-Report
Checklist" which ranked adolescents aged 12 to 17 on a variety of clinical
scales measuring behavioral and emotional problems.
- Adolescents also associated
social withdrawal, physical complaints, anxiety and depression, attention
problems, and thoughts of suicide with past-year marijuana use.
The analysis on teen behavior
and marijuana use is one of eight reports brought together by SAMHSA in
Analyses of Substance Abuse and Treatment Need Issues, a new
publication which presents data outcomes cutting across many of the agency's
In addition to Adolescent
Self Reported Behaviors and their Association with Marijuana Use, the
new publication also contains seven other reports: Children at Risk Because
of Parental Substance Abuse; Heroin Abuse in the United States;
Methamphetamine Abuse in the United States; Gamma Hydroxy
Butyrate Abuse in the United States; Self-Reported Problems Associated With
Drug Use; Estimating Substance Abuse Treatment Need from a National
Household Survey; and Changes Affecting NHSDA Estimates of Treatment
Need for 1994-1996.
Analyses of Substance
Abuse and Treatment Need Issues may be obtained free of charge by
calling SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information
at 1-800-729-6686 or at http://www.samhsa.gov/
SAMHSA, an agency of
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the lead Federal agency
for improving the quality and availability of substance abuse prevention,
addiction treatment, and mental health services in the United States.