A recent study indicates that American teens are not as into sex and drugs as one might think. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention in Atlanta had conducted a survey on the rising trends among American teens. The new report offers a detailed insight into the health, behaviours, and experiences of high school students that roughly constitutes 56 million teens every year.
It has been revealed that there is a decline in sex and drug use among teens. According to the report, the percentage of high school students who have had sex declined from 48 percent in 2007 to 40 percent in 2017. Though at the same time, the percentage of sexually active teens who use condoms has decreased from 62 percent in 2007 to 54 percent in 2017.
On the other hand, the use of select illicit drugs - cocaine, heroin, meth, inhalants, hallucinogens, or ecstasy - came down from 23 percent in 2007 to 14 percent in 2017.
Nearly 1 in 7 high school students reported misusing prescription opioids.
"We were surprised to see that 14 percent of high school students reported having misused prescription opioids," Dr Kathleen Ethier, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Adolescent and School Health, told ABC News. The misuse of opioids in teenage can often lead to future injection drug use and increased risk for HIV.
Substance abuse aside, the research also found that mental health in teenagers is a cause for concern.
Suicide and depression a high-risk factor in American teens
While the students' involvement in sex and drugs might have reduced, it was also revealed that suicide and depression are a high-risk factor among the high school teens in the United States.
There was a rise in the percentage of students who persistently felt depressed and hopeless. It rose from 29 percent in 2007 to 32 percent in 2017. Based on the survey, 1 in 5 students was bullied at school, and more than 1 in 10 girls, and 1 in 28 boys have been physically forced to have sex.
Netflix, with its controversial web series 13 Reasons Why, initiated conversations on high school bullying and mental health in American teens.
The series also faced severe backlash for its graphic depiction of violence, rape and bullying. Though many rose in support of the show, saying it was necessary to truly understand the atmosphere in an American high school.
Last week, the CDC reported a 30 percent spike in suicide rates since 1999.
With suicide being a major public health concern across the United States, the new findings revealed that nearly 45,000 suicides were reported in 2016. Though depression is known to be the main cause for higher suicide rate, only half of the people had a history of mental illness.
The numbers have revealed some disturbing trends in American high schools, but it could also be used to bring new changes in the American high school system.