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Youths' Choice of Consultant for Serious Problems Related to Substance Use

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2003
Based on selected findings from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), this report presents information and data on whom youths (ages 12 to 17) would consult about serious problems in general and those whom they would consult specifically about substance-use problems.
Of the estimated 23 million youths in the United States ages 12 to 17, the NHSDA findings show that most (almost 16 million) would talk to a friend or sibling about a serious problem in general; nearly 15 million would turn to their mothers; more than 9 million would turn to their fathers; over 10 million would consult another adult; and almost 7 million would consult their boyfriends or girlfriends. Over 1 million would not consult anyone. Younger youths more often sought out adults as confidants compared with older youths. Females were more likely than males to turn to others to discuss a serious problem, although males were more likely than females to turn to their fathers. White youths were more likely to turn to parents or other adults than youths from other racial/ethnic groups. The 1999 NHSDA indicates that rates of past-month cigarette, alcoholic-beverage, or marijuana use were lower among youths who reported they would talk to an adult about a serious problem than among those who would talk to a boyfriend or girlfriend. 5 figures