Most young people who use drugs seek stability and hope to relieve stress, according to an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study points to substance abuse as a driver of teen mental health challenges — and says that expanding mental health treatment and educating teens on harm reduction could reduce overdose deaths.

of Research They used data from 15,963 health assessments of 13- to 18-year-olds between 2014 and 2022.

The majority of young people in the study – 73 percent – said they used drugs and alcohol “to get mellow, to calm down or to have fun.” Half did it “for fun or to try it out,” he said. But 44 percent said they used drugs to stop worrying about a problem or forget bad memories, and 40 percent said they used it to help with depression or anxiety. Study participants may choose more than one response, which is why percentages add up to more than 100 percent.

Sixty percent of respondents reported using alcohol, marijuana, or another drug in the past month, with marijuana being the most commonly used substance (84 percent), along with alcohol (49 percent), prescription drugs (21 percent), and prescription drugs (19 percent). percent).

‘Cries for Help’: CDC Warns Teens’ Mental Health Declining at Precipitous Rate

The youth reported using alcohol and prescription drugs mostly recreationally or experimentally, and marijuana mostly recreationally. 81 percent said they used drugs or alcohol with friends, while 50 percent said they did it alone. Respondents were more likely to use alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs with friends.

But of those who reported abusing prescription drugs, 51 percent said they used them alone. Given the prevalence of counterfeit prescription pills and the “significant” risk of overdose when used alone, the researchers wrote, this method of using prescription-only drugs is “of great concern.”

To help deal with the risks, the researchers recommend providing teens with access to substance use and mental health resources and developing harm reduction education tailored to teens. By teaching teenagers not to use alone and how to prevent and respond to overdoses, fatal overdoses can be avoided, they write.

According to C.C.C DataTeen overdose deaths are expected to increase 109 percent between 2019 and 2021, with counterfeit pills playing a role in nearly 25 percent of deaths. Although two-thirds of the teens who died had bystanders at the time of their overdose, most were unresponsive.