Most teens who use drugs are searching for calm and hoping to relieve stress, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis suggests. The study points toward mental health challenges among teens as a driver of drug misuse - and says educating teens on harm reduction while expanding mental health treatment could reduce overdose deaths.

The study used data from 15,963 health assessments of 13- to 18-year-olds evaluated for substance-use-disorder treatment between 2014 and 2022. Respondents were asked what kinds of substances they took, who they used them with and what motivated their substance use.