By Tammy Granger, Vice President of Education, Caron Treatment Centers
The 2018 Monitoring the Future results released today by the University of Michigan and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) are cause for immediate alarm. The research, which has tracked national substance use among U.S. adolescents every year since 1975 for 12th grade students and since 1991 for 8th and 10th grade students, showed that increases in adolescent vaping from 2017 to 2018 were the largest ever recorded of any adolescent substance use in the past 43 years. I believe we are on the verge of creating a new generation addicted to nicotine and opening the door to an increase in the abuse of other substances if we don’t intervene and take immediate action to address this crisis.
In the previous two decades, we’ve seen a rapid decline in nicotine use. Outcomes from Caron’s prevention programs in the past 28 years show that teens have significantly veered away from smoking. Our initiatives showed that teens were increasingly deterred by campaigns that raised awareness about the health impacts of smoking, as well as the smell and cost of cigarettes.
Then vaping crept into our culture – packaged as a “safer” alternative to cigarettes for adults, later appealing to teens because of its discrete size and fruity flavors. Vaping initially flew under the radar with the intense focus on the raging opioid epidemic. And, even as awareness about vaping grew and questions from parents and schools began to mount about how to address it, we still observed a pervasive feeling of relief that it was not as serious as alcohol and other drugs.
We must not allow this dangerous misperception to continue. Not only is nicotine harmful, but evidence also shows that teens who use one substance are much more likely to use another substance. In addition, what most don’t realize is that people can vape a range of substances, such as marijuana and stimulants, not just nicotine. Likewise, teens who use alcohol, drugs or nicotine before the age of 15 are an at increased risk for developing a substance use disorder later in life.
Dangerous and deadly substances will continue to permeate our communities regardless of the device. However, we can turn this crisis around by taking steps today to mobilize and communicate a zero tolerance approach with firm consequences.
Learn more at Monitoring the Future: Vaping is Officially a Crisis – but Together We Can Turn It Around
Caron Treatment Centers
With 60 years in the field, Caron Treatment Centers operates lifesaving addiction and behavioral healthcare treatment. Caron is headquartered in Wernersville, Pennsylvania with Ocean Drive and Caron Renaissance located in Palm Beach County, Florida. Caron has recovery centers in New England, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., which offer community and recovery support. Caron’s Recovery Centers in Atlanta and New York City also offer pre- and post-treatment services. Caron has the most extensive continuum of care including teens, and adults, chronic pain, executives, healthcare professionals and legal professionals. Caron’s outcomes-driven treatment care plans are customized to meet the needs of individuals and families – with highly trained teams prepared to address co-occurring disorders. Caron offers an innovative approach to ongoing recovery care support for its former patients and their families with online peer groups and other resources during the first year of transition following discharge. For more information on Caron, please visit Caron at www.caron.org or follow us on Twitter @CaronTreatment.
Corporate Director of Media Relations
Caron Treatment Centers