According to an annual back-to-school survey on teens' attitudes that covers an overall picture of a generation of parents clueless about children's immoral practices, one third of the American teenagers have attended parties where alcohol or illegal drugs were used while their parents were at home.
It doesn't imply that parents were aware of what was happening when teenagers partied at their homes. In fact, only 12 % of parents look at drugs and alcohol as a problem for their kids, while 27 % of teenagers feel it to be their biggest concern. 58% of parents quote social pressure as their child's biggest problem.
"These parents are like the three monkeys," said Joseph Califano Jr., chairman and president of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA). "They see no beer, smell no pot, and don't hear all hell breaking loose in the family room because of the alcohol and drugs. It doesn't take a sharp nose to smell pot.
"These parents don't understand the world their children are living in. There is a lot of denial here."
CASA specifically studied parents this year and investigated the private party scene, where much of the underage drinking and drug abuse are thought to occur. This was done in order to study risk factors for substance abuse.
In several aspects, the parents' views were entirely different from their kids'.
According to the study, 80% of parents feel that alcohol or marijuana is usually not available at parties their teenagers attend. On the contrary, 50% of teenagers said they had been at parties where alcohol and drugs were being used.
There was no gender gap in the substance abuse study by CASA, as girls of age12 to 17are at equal or higher risk compared with boys.
The teenagers were categorized as low risk, moderate risk or high risk based on their responses.
Too much exposure to alcohol, various drugs including cocaine and heroin, and violence among teenagers was revealed by this study. 1 in 4 teenagers will encounter someone who was a victim of gun violence, by the age of 17.
Approximately 2/3rds of the high-risk group teenagers said they could buy marijuana in an hour or less. 93% had a friend who uses it, 58% get drunk at least once a month and 71% of them have a friend who uses cocaine, LSD or heroin.
According to the survey, the most vulnerable period for teenagers is the transition phase at 13 and 14 years old as they enter high school and attain the freedom that comes with it.
14 year olds were 3 times at higher risks to be offered the drug ecstasy and twice as likely to be offered cocaine, than the 13-year-old teenagers.
Family constitution also influenced substance-abuse risk. Eating regularly with family and attending church made teenagers less susceptible to the risk. teenagers who slept more than eight hours a day were also at less risk.
QEV Analytics started with a random national sample of 582 parents and 1,297 teenagers, defined for this study as kids 12 to 17.They conducted the survey for CASA. Some demographic groups were oversampled to ensure a balanced representation of African Americans and Hispanics.
Califano said "White, black and Hispanic teens experiment with drugs to the same degree and poor kids are more likely to get hooked and less likely to get serious treatment."