American 10th graders have a higher rate of illicit drug use than their European peers, researchers at the University of Michigan have found. American teens have lower rates of drinking and smoking. The researchers compared data from the U.S. Monitoring the Future study’s national survey of 10th graders with data from the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs, which includes 35 countries. On average, only 18 percent of the European students had used an illicit drug in their lifetime, compared to 35 percent of U.S. students the same age, the study found. Only the Czech Republic ranked higher than the U.S. at 37 percent.
The rate of smoking and drinking is declining among American teens, a survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) finds. Last year 9.6 percent of teens ages 12 to 17 said they used alcohol in 2015, compared with 17.6 percent in 2002, The New York Times reports. About 20 percent of teens said they smoked last year, compared with 32 percent in 2002. The survey also found that last year, one out of five adults in American met criteria for a mental illness or substance use disorder, but only 3 percent of them received services. “These are potentially life-threatening, disabling conditions,” SAMHSA Principal Deputy Administrator Kana Enomoto said in a news release. “Our country must redouble its efforts to provide evidence-based prevention and treatment services in every community to ensure all Americans get the help and hope they need to lead healthy and productive lives.”