Author: Alex Thompson

Teen Drug Abuse: Signs, Risks, and Treatment

teen drug abuse

The effects of these substances can impair their mental development and increase the likelihood of long-term health problems or diseases. The best type of treatment for teen drug use and abuse is prevention. Education and honest communication go a long way in helping teenagers learn about the risks of drugs and alcohol. Caregivers need to have an open line of communication with their teens and teach them about the risks of using drugs. It’s also important to know the signs of drug use and intervene early to help teens who are at risk for or have already developed substance use disorders. Many teens experiment with substances but don’t continue to use them.

They may prefer a certain brand or style of clothing, or a specific haircut based on the latest trends. Early drug use can affect some important brain developments, too. Calls to the number on this page will be answered or returned the treatment provider listed below, which is a paid advertiser. If a teen has already tried quitting or reducing use and failed, then it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Naturally, there is a possibility that teens may lie about their drug use. Parents should reassure their child that they are concerned and want to help.

What Causes Teens to Use Drugs?

Opioids include legal prescription medications such as hydrocodone, oxycontin, and fentanyl, as well as illegal drugs such as heroin. The annual rate of opioid overdose deaths for those aged 15 to 24 years is 12.6 per 100,000 people. Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance among teens, but rates of nicotine and prescription medication abuse are increasing.

  1. If you are not able to keep the line of communication open with your teen, talk to their healthcare provider.
  2. It’s important to teach them the power of saying no and how to enjoy life without relying on substances.
  3. Parents can ask straightforward questions in a nonthreatening tone.
  4. This video explains the human brain and its major structures and functions.
  5. By fostering trust and understanding, you can help them through difficult times.

Wanting to fit in with peers, feeling overwhelmed by their changing brains and bodies, and pressure to perform in school or sports are just a few reasons why teens may start experimenting with drugs. Teens may not seek drugs out but are instead introduced to substances by someone they know, such as a friend, teammate, or even a family member. This video for middle school students describes how synthetic cannabinoids, called K2 or Spice, affect the brain and the… This video for middle school students explains how synthetic cathinones, commonly known as bath salts, affect the brain…

High-Risk Substance Use Among Youth

It can be difficult to tell the difference between the pangs of adolescence and actual drug use, but parents can be proactive in talking to their teen to find out what’s going on. It’s important to know the difference between drug abuse and addiction. Teens who abuse drugs may have a greater risk of developing an addiction when they are adults.

teen drug abuse

The 2023 Monitoring the Future data tables highlighting the survey results are available online from the University of Michigan. Schools, families, and communities should work together to build a safe environment for youth at school and at home. Safe and supportive environments can foster both school connectedness and parent engagement. Youth opioid use is linked to risky behaviors like not using a condom and that can lead to HIV, STDs, and unintended pregnancy. This video explains the human brain and its major structures and functions. Everyone goes through changes in mood and behaviors from time to time.

Prescription Medications

From February through June 2023, the Monitoring the Future investigators collected 22,318 surveys from students enrolled across 235 public and private schools in the United States. Many addictions develop from drug abuse that starts during adolescence. The teenage brain is still developing, putting adolescent users at an increased risk of addiction. The most critical part of preventing teenage substance abuse is communication.

So, your teen may begin to hang out with people who have the same interests and enjoy the same substances. However, experimentation is a fact of life — and just because a teen has tried drugs or alcohol doesn’t mean they will become an addict. It’s more important to understand why some teens are tempted to experiment in the first place. Teenagers who abuse substances are more likely to have mental health issues. Conversely, teenagers with mental health issues are more likely to use substances to cope with their problems.

1 in 3 parents believe there is little they can do to prevent teen drug use despite evidence that shows parental involvement is the strongest factor in prevention. If a teen continues denying using drugs but the parent still suspects untruthfulness, a home drug test can uncover a teen drug problem. Therapists, pediatricians, and addiction specialists can also help uncover a teen drug problem.

The best way to get a teen to communicate about their drug use is by asking compassionate and understanding questions. It’s important to teach them the power of saying no and how to enjoy life without relying on substances. Teenagers are exposed to various problems that many parents, teachers, and other adults may not understand or relate to. These problems can cause intense feelings of isolation, loneliness, and confusion. Here are some of the key statistics from the Monitoring the Future survey, which has been tracking youth substance use in the United States for over 40 years. Teens may be more likely to try substances for the first time when hanging out in a social setting.

In addition, teens often don’t know or understand the dangers of substance abuse. They may see occasional use as being safe and don’t believe they could become addicted to drugs or face consequences. The reasons why any person uses drugs are complex, and the same is true for teens.

Why is CDC addressing youth high-risk substance use?

Teens often experience negative emotions and stress that may lead them to substance abuse. In some cases, there are other factors in developing addiction, such as genetics, environment, and peer pressure. The most important thing to remember is that teens need support before, during, and after substance or alcohol abuse treatment. Most SUDs begin in the teenage years and continue into adulthood.

Caregivers can prevent teen drug abuse by knowing the signs and talking to their children about the consequences of using substances. This article reviews statistics, risk factors, health effects, signs, and treatment for teenage drug addiction. Even if the adults in their lives try to prevent it, some teens will develop substance use disorders. Reported use for almost all substances decreased dramatically between 2020 and 2021, after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and related changes like school closures and social distancing.