Are You a Problem Parent?

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University released the results of their National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIII: Teens and Parents. It’s the 13th year they’ve done the back to school survey. This year, they’ve identified “problem parents” as increasing the risk that teens will smoke, drink or use drugs. They define problem parents as “those who fail to monitor their children’s school night activities, safeguard their prescription drugs, address the problem of drugs in their children’s schools, and set good examples.”

Here are some highlights of their findings:

  • 50% of teens (12 – 17 years old) who come home after 10:00pm on a school night say that drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana or other drug use occurs
  • 29% of teens who come home between 8:00pm and10:00pm on a school night say that drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana or other drug use occurs.
  • Only 14% of parents say their teens usually leave the house to hang out with friends on school nights
  • More teens said prescription drugs were easier to buy than beer (19% vs. 15%), the first time in the CASA survey’s history
  • When teens who know prescription drug abusers were asked where those kids get their drugs:
    • 31% said from friends or classmates
    • 34% said from home, parents or the medicine cabinet
    • 16% said other
    • Only 9% said from a drug deale
  • Drugs topped the list for the 13th year of the survey as the biggest concern teens face
  • 28% of teens cite drugs as the biggest problem they face, compared to only 17% of parents who see drugs as the top teen concern
  • Parents overwhelmingly say it is harder today to keep kids safe (84%) and to raise a teen “of good moral character” (72%)

According to Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA’s chairman and president, “Preventing substance abuse among teens is primarily a Mom and Pop operation. It is inexcusable that so many parents fail to appropriately monitor their children, fail to keep dangerous prescription drugs out of the reach of their children and tolerate drug infected schools. The parents who smoke marijuana with children should be considered child abusers. By identifying the characteristics of problem parents we seek to identify actions that parents can take—and avoid—in order to become part of the solution and raise healthy, drug-free children.”

Read more about the CASA survey

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