Use and abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs by youth is a major public health problem in the United States. Adolescents who use drugs are at higher risk than non-drug-using adolescents for physical and mental health problems and criminal involvement. The social costs of adolescent drug abuse include crime, economic loss, academic disruption, and familial distress. Approximately 7% of adolescents ages 12 to 17 meet criteria for abuse or dependence, but only about 10% of youth with drug abuse problems receive treatment. This entry describes the unique developmental period of adolescence, the epidemiology and nature of adolescent substance abuse, and efforts to prevent and treat alcohol and other substance abuse disorders in adolescents.

Adolescence and Substance Use

The concept of adolescence is a relatively new phenomenon that ...

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