With children out of school, and the new found idle time, teens may be more prone to try drugs and alcohol.
According to the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, during the summer months more than 11,000 teens will drink alcohol for the first time, 5,000 will start smoking cigarettes and 4,500 will try marijuana.
Dr. H. Westley Clark, director of the administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, believes the rise for these numbers are because teens have more time on their hands. These discoveries are based off the information from the administration’s annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health between the years of 2002 to 2012, which include interviews with more than 230,000 teens.
Unlike the summer experimental months, during the rest of the year the number of teens trying alcohol for the first time falls between 5,000 to 8,000. Between 3,000 to 4,000 teens will try cigarettes and marijuana.
Although there is no increase in abuse in prescription drugs or cocaine, it was found that more teenagers are using hallucinogens and inhalants in the summer.
Dr. Clark wants parents to be aware that the summer months are when teenagers will abuse alcohol, smoke cigarettes and experiment with drugs.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a Smart Summer campaign that urges parents to become involved and help prevent children from using these substances by setting boundaries.
Director of Substance Abuse Services at Zucker Hillside Hospital, Bruce Goldman, recommends that parents work with their children to plan some kind of structured activities every day. He also advises parents to have an open dialogue with their children about what they are doing, and about alcohol and drugs. Goldman believes it is "critical" for parents to be alert and the longer parents can delay teens experimenting with drugs and alcohol, the better their chances of not developing problems later on in life.
For more on teens and drugs, visit the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.