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Risk Factors for Teen Drug Abuse [Infographic]

There are many resources available to help you spot the signs of drug abuse in your teenager. However, wouldn’t it be better to prevent them from using drugs in the first place? Keeping them from using now can help them avoid more significant problems down the road. So what kinds of risk factors lead to teen drug abuse?


Teens that frequent spaces where drug use occurs are at a higher risk for abusing drugs themselves. Making friends with a peer group in which drug use is normal is the most common way teens expose themselves to these environments. They want to seem cool, so they agree to try whatever substances their friends are using. Another place teens can observe drug use is in their own home. While this is less common, it certainly opens up the possibility of eventual teen drug use. After all, teens are still developing, and often mimic examples that they see.

Family History

Issues with addiction tend to run in families. Just like with any other disease, teenagers that have a family history of substance abuse are more at risk for teen drug abuse. Teens need to be especially careful if they have this genetic predisposition for substance abuse.


Teenagers’ brains are still very much developing. They learn and adapt to new changes quickly. As a result, tolerance for substances can develop more rapidly in teens than in older individuals. As the brain adapts to the presence of this substance, cravings ensue, which then leads to more abuse and eventually, addiction.

Mental or Behavioral Health Issues

Teens that struggle with mental illnesses or behavioral disorders often have trouble processing their emotions. Looking for some release, they may turn to drugs. Substance abuse may temporarily keep the negative feelings at bay, but eventually, a more profound problem develops.


Exposure to trauma can lead to a flurry of complex emotions that many teens have trouble processing. Wanting to try anything to escape, many teens turn to substance abuse as a last resort.

Help for Teen Drug Abuse

Knowing the various risk factors for teen drug abuse can help prevent addiction from taking hold in your teen’s life. Of course, prevention is not always possible. If your teenager needs help with a substance abuse problem, assistance is available. Destinations for Teens offers hope and healing for teenagers battling addiction. We provide comprehensive teen treatment programs, including:

We focus exclusively on teenagers to provide focused, specialized addiction treatment that works. If you would like to learn more about how we treat teen drug abuse, call Destinations for Teens today at 877-466-0620.