Teens Do More Drugs During Summer Break

Substance use rates increase in the adolescent population during the summer months

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) The summer months are a time for rest and relaxation. For some teens though, they can also be a time for risk taking and substance abuse.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) just released a report that expressed a concern about the patterns of substance use among adolescents aged 12 to 17.

Teens are more likely to get involved with substance abuse in the summer months when out of school.

"Talk to your kids about the dangers of substance abuse."

Pamela S. Hyde, SAMHSA administrator said, “More free time and less adult supervision can make the summertime an exciting time for many young people, but it can also increase the likelihood of exposure to the dangers of substance abuse.”

“That is why it is critically important to take every opportunity we can throughout the year to talk to our young people about the real risks of substance abuse and effective measures for avoiding it, so they will be informed and capable of making the right decisions on their own.”

The SAMHSA report stated that the first time most teens used an illicit substance is in June or July. On any given day, around 5,000 to 8,000 teens take their first drink of alcohol. In June and July, the number jumps to over 11,000.

Also, on any given day, around 3,000 to 4,000 teens smoke their first cigarette. In June and July, that number jumps to over 5,000.

Marijuana use is no different. While most days, 3,000 to 4,000 kids smoke pot for the first time, in June and July, the number increased to over 4,800.

These same summertime spikes were found with the use of hallucinogens and inhalants.

Notably, cocaine and non-medical prescription stimulants and tranquilizers did not show an increase in first-time use in June and July.

SAMHSA is working with the White House Office of National Drug Control to develop summertime substance use prevention and Drug Free Communities (DFC) programs.

Check out the Smart Summer Campaign and Youth Above the Influence Photovoice Project to get involved with preventing summertime substance use in teens.

This study was published in July on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 18, 2012
Last Updated:
January 25, 2013