By The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Data from the most recent National Survey of Adolescents and other studies indicate
that one in four children and adolescents in the United States experiences at least one
potentially traumatic event before the age of 162, and more than 13% of 17-year-olds—one
in eight—have experienced posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their
lives.

Most, if not all, of these young people also have access to a wide range of psychoactive
substances that can both dull the effects of stress and place teens at increased risk
of experiencing trauma. It is estimated that 29% of adolescents–nearly one in three–have
experimented with illegal drugs by the time they complete 8th grade, and 41% have
consumed alcohol.4 For many adolescents, such early experimentation eventually progresses
to abuse of—or dependence on—illicit drugs or alcohol. Every year, approximately one in five
American adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 engages in abusive/dependent or
problematic use of illicit drugs or alcohol.

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