Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse 2011 | Center on Addiction

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

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

Published: August 2011

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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, Knowledge Networks, an international online research organization, conducted a nationally representative Internet-based survey of 1,037 teens, ages 12 to 17, and 528 parents of these teens. In addition, QEV Analytics, a national public opinion research firm, conducted a nationally representative telephone-based survey of 1,006 teens, ages 12 to 17, asking questions that we have used to measure trends over time.


American teens ages 12 to 17 who in a typical day spent any time on social networking sites were at increased risk of smoking, drinking and drug use. The survey found that 70% of 12-to-17-year-olds spent time on Facebook, MySpace or other social networking sites in a typical day.

Compared to teens that spent no time on social networking sites in a typical day, teens that did were:

  • 5 times likelier to have used tobacco
  • 3 times likelier to have used alcohol
  • Twice as likely to have used marijuana

This survey explored other teen drug abuse statistics, such as the relationship of teen TV habits and of cyberbullying to teen substance abuse. The survey revealed that teens who had been cyberbullied were more than twice as likely to smoke, drink and use marijuana compared to teens who had not been cyberbullied.

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