kids today

I thought the numbers in this UM study were probably a bit inflated, until, during a little walk around the neighborhood this evening, a young man with a traffic cone completely engulfing his head, rolled up to Clementine and me on a skateboard and said, “Nanu-Nanu!” (This, I should mention, transpired just a few feet from where I found the used syringe a few days ago.) Here’s a clip from the text accompanying the UM press release:

Teenagers are known for taking risks. It’s a normal part of growing up. But teenage rebellion takes on new meaning when, for example, reckless driving is mixed with drug and alcohol abuse, causing serious injury or even death.

To help curb such risk-taking behavior, researchers at the University of Michigan Health System want routine substance abuse testing to become a part of the treatment plan for all injured teenage patients. Such a practice, they say, would allow for brief in-hospital substance abuse intervention programs that could help prevent future injury.

Their study, published in May in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery, found that nearly 40 percent of the pediatric trauma-injury patients ages 14 to 17 tested positive for drugs or alcohol. Of those patients, 29 percent of positive tests were for opiates like opium or heroin, 11.2 percent for alcohol, and 20 percent for cannabis, or marijuana. However, more than half of the patients who should have been screened while in the hospital, were not…

If you’re like me, you’ll probalby find those numbers to be incredibly high, until you actually leave your home and observe teens in their natural habitat. (I’m thinking of starting an “I hate American teens” category for the site. What do you think?)

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  1. MCNB
    Posted May 17, 2006 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t access the actual study, but I found the press release confusing. It says 40% tested positive but later notes that only 40% of the teenagers eligible to be screened were actually tested…seems like the 40% positive rate might be a mistake.

    Sixty percent of the clients were “eligible” but not tested…makes you wonder what defined eligibility. Perhaps injured teens weren’t tested if they appeared to only be under the influence of a traffic cone or the zombie Madness (injuries, indeed). And how many were driving vs. skateboarding?

    In any case, only 177 of the 443 teenagers were actually tested and thus 51 tested positive for opiates, 20 for alcohol, 35 for marijuana. The percentages are less impressive if recklessly calculated using the full sample size of 443.

    I apologize for thinking about this too much. I blame society.

  2. Dr Cherry
    Posted May 18, 2006 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    I don’t remember ever answering a survey honestly in high school.

  3. mark
    Posted May 18, 2006 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    I think it was a blood test, Dr. Cherry. (That means they take your blood out and test it, not that you fill out the form in blood.)

    And those are good points, MCNB… The more I think about it, the more I hope it is true that all the kids are on drugs. At least that might make their apathy somehow understandable.

  4. UncleWendy
    Posted May 18, 2006 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Every time I find myself hating on teenagers (and it is often) I have to remind myself that I don’t hate the teens so much as the horrible culture that is shaping them into generic spoonfed apathetic consumers. So I guess the category should be called something like “I Hate America and Despise its Offspring.”

  5. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted May 18, 2006 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Stoopid comes in all ages.

  6. doulicia
    Posted May 22, 2006 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    How would a teen today know Mork-speak? I’d forgotten it myself. Are you sure it was a teenager?

  7. Ted Glass
    Posted May 22, 2006 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Maybe there was someone close-by feeding him lines through a transmitter in his ear. Maybe the cone was an antenna.

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