One in seven high school students reported misusing prescription opioids, one of several disturbing results in a nationwide survey of teenagers that revealed a growing sense of fear and despair among youth in the United States.
The numbers of teenagers reporting “feelings of sadness or hopelessness,” suicidal thoughts, and days absent from school out of fear of violence or bullying have all risen since 2007. The increases were particularly pointed among lesbian, gay and bisexual high school students.
Nationally, 1 in 5 students reported being bullied at school; 1 in 10 female students and 1 in 28 male students reported having been physically forced to have sex.
“An adolescent’s world can be bleak,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, an official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted the survey and analyzed the data. “But having a high proportion of students report they had persistent feelings of hopelessness and 17 percent considering suicide is deeply disturbing.”