Without having to worry about schoolwork, summer is considered a time to relax! But maybe teens are being a little too carefree this month, at least when it comes to risky behavior. According to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), July is when more young people start using drugs or alcohol compared to any other month. The stats are definitely surprising!
On average, in the month of July, someone under 18 starts drinking alcohol every 8 seconds, or smoking cigarettes every 17 seconds. If our calculations are correct, that means 10,800 teens drink alcohol for the first time every day, and 5,929 start smoking cigarettes each day. When it comes to marijuana, teens under 18 start using marijuana every 19 seconds or 4,547 start using marijuana per day.
While these numbers are frighteningly high, it’s important to balance these stats with some positive news: Although more teens drink in the summer, a majority of teens aren’t drinking. MADD reports that less than 30 percent of teens have had a drink in the past month. Another comforting fact is that less teens are smoking cigarettes than in years past.
The bottom line is conversations about drinking and drugs are a necessity. If you don’t believe us, take a look at this past TeenBeing post about teens and alcohol poisoning. For tips about how to get talking, MADD has a handy resource called The Power of Parents. After you get the important talk out of the way, you’ll all be able to relax and enjoy your summer — the right way!
Did you know there’s a health and well-being magazine for teens? Subscribe to Choices for your teens, and check out past stories, including “Alcohol Poisoning: The Death You Don’t See Coming” and “Teens vs. Cigarettes“.