Teens battling academic stress with drugs

We’re kicking off a new blog series called “Throwback Thursday.” Each week we’ll take a look at some of our most popular past NPCH Reports. This week, we’ll throw back to our 2008 NPCH Report on study drugs, which remains an important child health topic today.

As the new school year gets underway, students might soon start to feel increased pressure and stress. Between homework, sports, and other after school activities and commitments, it can be hard on teens to stay focused and not become overwhelmed.

Some teens look to drugs as a way to combat these problems. In this year’s NPCH Report of the Top 10 child health problems, drug abuse maintained its position as the third highest “big problem” for children.

Some students struggling academically misuse amphetamines or other stimulants to help them focus or stay awake. In a 2013 NPCH Report only 1 in 100 parents said they think their teens have used “study drugs,” whereas 1 in 8 high school seniors admitted to using them. Read the full report: One in ten teens using “study drugs,” but are parents paying attention?

Figure 1. Parents' Perceptions of their teens' "study drug" use compared with teens' self-reported use

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For more information on teen drug use, visit

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