Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse 2009 | Center on Addiction

National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIV: Teens and Parents

National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIV: Teens and Parents

Published: August 2009

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This survey aims to identify the situations, individual and family characteristics, and social factors that are associated with teen drug abuse and addiction. Its primary purpose is to track attitudes of teens and those, like parents, who have the greatest influence on whether teens will smoke, drink, get drunk, use illegal drugs or abuse prescription drugs.

CASAColumbia’s teen surveys have consistently found that the family is fundamental to keeping children away from tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs. Teen drug abuse plays a major role in addiction. People who do not use tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs or misuse prescription drugs before age 21 are virtually certain never to do so. This report outlines several teen drug abuse facts and teen drug abuse statistics.


On behalf of CASAColumbia, QEV Analytics, a national public opinion research firm, conducted a nationally representative telephone-based survey of 1,000 teens, ages 12 to 17, and 452 parents from the same household of teens we interviewed.


Compared to teens who had not seen a parent drunk, those who had were more than twice as likely to get drunk in a typical month, and 3 times likelier to have used marijuana and smoked cigarettes.

Teen drinking behavior was strongly associated with how teens believed their fathers felt about their drinking. Compared to teens who believed their father was against their drinking, teens who believed their father was okay with their drinking were 2.5 times likelier to get drunk in a typical month.

This survey examined several other notable teen drug abuse statistics, including the availability of prescription drugs, the role teen drug abuse plays in sexual activity and the prevalence of marijuana.

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