Special Populations – Adolescents

Over two million youth experienced substance abuse problems in the United States in 2003. Marijuana by far is the most widely used drug among high school youth and young adult populations. According to the Monitoring the Future survey, marijuana use rates were highest amongst twelfth graders and college students (34.9% & 33.7%, respectively) in the year prior to the survey. While results from this survey show that lifetime rates of methamphetamine use was down for high school students, it was up for young adult college students. Meth has become a growing problem among youth 25 years and younger, particularly within the Western U.S. as witnessed by criminal justice, health care, and treatment data.

There is a paucity of published literature on treatment involved youth in the U.S. Nationally, there was an increase of 65% in the number of overall adolescent treatment admissions for drug abuse between 1992 and 2002. According to treatment statistics from the California Alcohol and Drug Programs, meth admissions for youth have been on the rise since 2000. The Phoenix House, a large drug treatment center, revealed to CBS news that meth use accounted for almost half of the center’s adolescent admissions in 2005.