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Teen Health

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Lots of Drinks, Drugs at Teen Parties

Parents Often Clueless About Such Abuse Even When Present

About the Survey continued...

Survey topics included teen party attendance; use of alcohol, marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, and prescription drugs at those parties; and parental presence at the party site.

Most teens -- 38% -- said they don't attend any parties in a normal month.

Another 27% said they go to one party per month. Fifteen percent said they attend two parties a month, and 8% say they go to three.

Most partygoers said they hadn't gone to parties where alcohol or drugs were present. And two-thirds said their host's parents are "always" or "usually" home during parties.

Alcohol, Drugs

But the survey shows a gap between parents and the teen partiers.

For instance, 80% of parents believe alcohol and marijuana usually aren't available at parties their teens attend.

But 46% of teen partygoers reported being at parties where alcohol was present; 30% had seen marijuana at parties; and 11% had been to parties where drugs like cocaine or ecstasy were available.

Nearly all parents -- 98% -- said they're normally present when their teens hold parties at their home. But a third of teens say parents are rarely or never at those parties, Califano notes.

More than a quarter of teen partygoers say they've been at parties where teens were drinking alcohol while the host's parent was at home, the survey also shows.

Parental Influence

Parental presence at teen parties may not stop all partiers from drinking or using drugs. But it might be a deterrent.

Teens who attend parties where a parent is present are much less likely to report alcohol and drugs being available at those parties, compared to teens who party without parents, the survey shows.

"While the presence of parents does not guarantee a substance-free party, it does reduce the likelihood that a teen party will have drugs or alcohol," Califano says.

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