The greatest health threats for adolescents today are behavioral rather than biomedical. Current studies indicate that most adolescents engage in some type of behavior that might be considered threatening to their health and well-being. Furthermore, adolescents engage in risky behaviors at increasingly earlier ages. Alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use as well as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and other sexually transmitted diseases are a few of the major health problems that have received increased attention during the past several years and continue to be major threats to the health of adolescents.
Alcohol and other drug use has been a major factor in the deterioration of the health status of adolescents and young adults.1 Almost half of adolescents have used an illicit drug before they finish high school and 25% have used an illicit drug other than marijuana. Marijuana is by far the most widely used illicit drug, with
Adger H, DeAngelis CD. Adolescent Medicine. JAMA. 1994;271(21):1651-1653. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510450023012