Coping with School Stress Is Number One Reason Given by Teens for Teen Drug Use

Nearly three-fourths (73%) of teens in grades 7 to 12 believe that "kids use drugs to deal with the pressures and stress of school,"according data from the 20th annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS).

Other reasons cited by more than half of teens surveyed were to help them feel better about themselves (65%), to look cool (65%), to deal with problems at home (55%), and to improve athletic performance (54%).

The least cited reasons for teen drug use were to have fun (26%) and to help study better (20%).

Editors note: It is possible that the reasons given would have been different if the survey question had specified the types of drugs being asked about.

Previous surveys of high school and college students have found that motivations vary greatly by type of drug.

For example, one survey found that the most common motive for use of prescription stimulants by college students was to increase concentration (see CESAR FAX, Volume 15, Issue 13).

Youths'Perceived Reasons Why Youths Use Drugs, 2007

Deal with Pressures & Stress of School - 73%

Help Feel Better About Themselves - 65%

Look Cool - 65%

Deal with Problems at Home - 55%

Improve Athletic Performance - 54%

Help Lose Weight - 43%

Help Forget Troubles - 43%

Improve Their Physical Appearance - 43%

Help Relax Socially - 35%

Help When Having a Hard Time - 34%

For Fun - 26%

Help Them Study Better - 20%

(N= 6,511 youths in Grades 7 to 12)

NOTES: The survey was conducted by The Roper Public Affairs Division of GfK Custom Research North America, for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. The 2007 PATS survey was conducted in schools and in homes with a nationally projectionable sample of 6,511 adolescents in grades 7 through 12. The margin of error is +/-1.6%.

CESARFAX U n i v e r s i t y o f M a r y l a n d , C o l l e g e P a r k
A Weekly FAX from the Center for Substance Abuse Research August 18, 2008Vol. 17, Issue 33

SOURCE: Adapted by CESAR from Partnership for a Drug-Free America, The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS): Teen s 2007 Report, August 2008. Available online at
301-405-9770 (voice)  301-403-8342 (fax)
CESAR FAXmay be copied without permission. Please cite CESAR as the source.


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