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Teens Are Having Less Sex For The First Time In Decades, But Still At Risk For New Dangers

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According to new statistics, teenagers are not engaging in sex or taking drugs as often as they were decades ago.

The data that was collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last year that under 40 percent of high school students were having sex.

Sex, Drugs, And Young Adults 

This new information, that is based on a set of surveys that has been taken every two years since 1991, indicates that teenagers are still at risk for other dangers, including misuse of pills and suicidal thoughts. The study showed that condom use is the one area that teenagers are taking a risk than in the past years. The use of condoms among teens fell in 2017 to 53.8 percent, compared to the 62.8 percent in 2005.

Based on the nationwide survey conducted on 15,000 students from grades 9-12, 39.5 percent claimed that they were having sex, which is less than the 54 percent in 1991 and 48 percent in 2007.

Fourteen percent of the students state that they use the drugs methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin, and hallucinogens which is less than the 22.6 percent in 2007.

Fourteen percent claim to have used prescription drugs such as Percocet without a prescription for it and used it in different ways than it is prescribed. 

Suicide And Depression Among Teens

In regards to suicide and depression, 31.5 percent claim to feel "hopeless or sad" which could lead to depression. This concerns health experts as it is an increase from the 28.5 percent noted in 2007. 17.2 percent of teenagers claim to have thought of committing suicide which is less than the 29 percent in 1991 but is more than the 14.5 percent that was recorded in 2007.

The survey also noted that at least 15 percent of the high school students who identify as gay, bisexual, lesbian, or uncertain of their sexual identity are more at risk for several dangers, including those related to violence, suicide, and substance use.

Kathleen Ethier, director of CDC's division of adolescent and school health, stated that there are more improvements being seen in some areas but also concerns. She continued that schools and communities need to create more places for teenagers to feel safe and connected.

Pamela Matson, who was not a part of the survey, gave the same sentiments but also noted that teens who are dropouts face a higher risk.

"Emerging adulthood can be a risky period. We want to maintain connections and model healthy relationships." Matson, who is from Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore, continued. 

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