Alcohol is the Most Abused Drug

You may not be surprised that teens report using alcohol more than any other substance. What might be startling however is how the numbers differ by grade, and how rapidly rates of use increase between middle school and high school.

Of the 7th, 9th, and 11th grade students who responded to the 2014 Union County Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), 17% reported using alcohol in the past 30 days, compared to 11% who had used tobacco, and 9% who had used marijuana.

In Union County, 5.8% of students in the 7th grade reported drinking alcohol in the past month compared to 20% of students in 9th grade and 24.8% of students in 11th grade during the same time period.


Here's what teens in Union County say about alcohol

  • Underage drinking happens more frequently on weekends
  • Teens are drinking in private homes, sometimes with a parent’s consent
  • Most teens are given the alcohol they drink, often by a friend (42%) or from a parent (37%) 
  • Most students report drinking beer and hard liquor


Parental Influence

There is a disparity between how much influence parents think they have on their teen's choices and how much influence they actually have. In fact, a 2013 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that 1 in 5 parents of teenagers believe they have little to no influence on their teen's choices with drugs and aclohol. According to the 2014 YRBS, 42% of students reported their parent or caregiver never or seldom talks to them about drugs and alcohol. But teens report that their parents have a greater influence than most parents think.