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Teen Substance Abuse

The four-year period that teens spend in high school is a radical transformation from childhood to adulthood. During this time, they are exposed to a wide range of coming-of-age experiences. For many teens, drugs and alcohol are almost inevitably somewhere in the picture. As such,  teen substance abuse has dominated youth culture in the U.S.  While some teens experiment with substances such as cigarettes, marijuana, or alcohol, others dive headlong into heavy drug use and alcohol abuse. Plus, many teenagers today are already on some type of mood-altering of prescription medication before they even hit 9th grade.

Why Do Teenagers Take Drugs?

There several factors that influence drugs use in teenagers such as: 

Family Situations

If drugs or alcohol are already present in the family, it increases a teen’s likelihood of experimenting with substances. Divorce, neglect, financial problems, abuse, and moving around a lot can also play a role in teen substance abuse. These issues can require a family therapy program.

Peer Pressure

Teens face an overwhelming amount of peer pressure at school that can lead to teenage drug abuse. The need to fit in, combined with a natural tendency to explore, can often lead a teenager into drug use. Sometimes teenagers use drugs because, in their minds, it is culturally relevant.

Academic Pressure

Children face the same pressure to succeed as adults. Teenagers are now in school environments where academic success is stressed more than ever. Long study nights, pressure from family, massive workloads, and academic competition can drive a teen to want to ‘cut loose’ from time to time – usually on the weekends. However, binges are a common cause of teenage drug abuse

Drugs That Are Popular with Teenagers

New illicit drugs seem to pop in and out of culture almost every week, leading to increased amounts of teen substance abuse. Teenagers impacted by teen substance abuse will often take a drug and have no idea what’s in it. Teenagers will also experiment by altering or combining drugs or with alcohol or other drugs. The most popular substances with teenagers are still cigarettes, marijuana, and alcohol. In addition, they also use substances such as: 

  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • Methamphetamines
  • Heroin
  • Inhalants
  • Adderall

Prescription medications can be just as dangerous as illicit drugs once a teenager understands how they work, and not even realize that prescription medications can cause a need for teen substance abuse treatment centers. An adolescent on Adderall or OxyContin, Xanax, or Ritalin may find ways to experiment with the drug or increase the dosage.

What You Can Do About Teen Substance Abuse 

If you believe that your teenage child is using some type of substance, then you may want to sit down for a conversation. Express concern but not anger. Provide loving support for your child and try to address the problem and what to do about it. If your teenager is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you may want to seek help from teen substance abuse treatment centers in the area. If you need help taking the first step, Destination for Teens provides intervention and treatment for abuse. We offer addiction programs that support recovery from teen substance abuse. To find out more about treatment options, call us at 877.466.0620. We are here to help your teen get on the road to recovery.