Teen Drug Use Number One Health Problem: Study

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Addiction Costs Billions

"Addiction is the most costly health problem in America today, and it drives 70 other diseases that require hospitalization," said Foster. "It drives a host of very costly health and social problems that are largely preventable. We can do something about it."

Foster said preventing teens from substance use begins with screening young people for their mental health and family addiction history.

"We need to... ask questions and intervene and understand what circumstances exist in the family, including mental health conditions, history of addiction and eating disorders."

Society also needs to move away from a culture that glorifies and promotes substance use as a way to relax or have fun and improve accessibility of available treatment, she said.

As for Morel, who works with teens, she hopes to see better communication among parents and teens about drugs and addiction.

"This is a disease that can happen to anyone," said Morel. "In ninth grade, it was like a switch went off in Matt. It's not just poor kids or the homeless that this can happen to. They're not any more likely than any of the rest of us."

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