Teen Drug Abuse
- Table of ContentsPrint
- Signs Your Teen May Be Abusing Drugs
- How Should Parents Respond?
- Illicit Drug Use and Today's Teens
- Prescription Drug Abuse Among Teens
- The Difference in Teen Drug Treatment
- Is Treatment Necessary?
Teen drug abuse can lead to a plethora of problems for our youth, ranging from problems with normal brain development to severe academic repercussions to damaged personal relationships.
Many parents are unaware of the severity of the issue that a nation of adolescents and teens are facing – According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), approximately 5.7 million middle school students attend schools where drugs can be found on campus.
Signs Your Teen May Be Abusing Drugs
The problem with identifying drug abuse among teenagers is that the common symptoms of drug abuse that most people are aware of sometimes mimic "normal" teen behavior. Another problem is that this is something no parent really wants to see in their teen. Aside from the general moodiness and secretive nature of most teens, there are other symptoms you should keep a watchful eye out for in order to identify signs that your teen may, in fact, be abusing drugs:
Signs of Teen Substance abuse
- Runny nose.
- Sudden weight loss.
- Loss of interest in favorite activities and/or pastimes.
- Chronic coughing.
- Inappropriate clothing (this is most common among teens attempting to hide needle marks with long sleeves).
- Sudden drop in grades.
- Uncommon behavior problems at home and school.
- Skipping school.
- Skipping class.
- Change in friends.
- Excessive hunger.
- Loss of appetite.
Teen Drug Abuse Quiz question 1
Video: I Thought I Knew
The following video tells the stories of multiple people who experienced addiction, as well as those of their loved ones.
Credit: Stories of Hope
Teen Drug Abuse Quiz question 2
How Should Parents Respond?
Don't panic. Now is not the time for that. It's the time for taking action. The most important thing to remember once you discover that your teen is abusing drugs is that there is help available. There are support groups in many major cities to help parents cope with their teens, and they also educate parents on adolescent drug abuse and what you can do to help.
And don't play the blame game. It's easy to point fingers and assign blame. It's even easier to accept the weight of the entire problem on your shoulders. Talk to your teen and listen to what he or she has to say about school, drugs and anything at all your teen wants to discuss. You need to do this even if what your teen is telling you is painful to hear. Not only does this let your teen know that you'll be there no matter what, but it also helps your teen feel a little less alone in the fight to overcome addiction.
If you do suspect your teen is abusing drugs, it’s important to get them into treatment as soon as possible. Across the board, the sooner an individual gets help, the more likely it is that they will sustain a full recovery. Per CASA, 90 percent of addicts started abusing substances before they turned 18 years old. If teens can get into treatment early, it’s more likely that they can avoid turning into addicts down the road. Consider turning to a drug addiction rehabilitation facility that offers specialized treatment programs for youth drug abuse. The more experience they have dealing with teens, the better it will be for your teen.
Teen Drug Abuse Quiz question 3
Illicit Drug Use and Today's Teens
While illicit drug use seems to be on the decline, according o the National Institute on Drug Abuse, teens continue to abuse illicit substances in light of the known dangers. In fact, in 2014, past year abuse of illicit drugs for all grades was 27.2 %. If your teen is abusing marijuana, ecstasy or any other illicit or prescription drugs, we can help your teen kick the habit and get back to a life that's free of addiction.
Teen Drug Abuse Quiz question 4
Prescription Drug Abuse Among Teens
While alcohol and marijuana are the drugs most commonly abused by teens, the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that prescription drugs follow in third place. Teens can often get their hands on prescription drugs more easily than street drugs; they simply go into their family members’ or friends’ medicine cabinets and pilfer a few pills. Teens also often feel that prescription drugs are somehow safer than street drugs because they are initially prescribed by a doctor. In fact, prescription painkillers can be just as addictive and damaging to one’s health as heroin.
Many teens begin taking prescription drugs because they feel it's a safer choice than using illicit drugs. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health findings in 2009 and 2010, of the people over the age of 12 who admitted to using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in recent months, 50 percent reported receiving prescription drugs from friends or family members free of charge.
Many teens cite easy access to prescription medication as one of the reasons they prefer them over illicit drugs today. But one of the biggest considerations among teens may be the fact that the social stigma associated with prescription drug abuse is much lower than with illicit drugs.
Teen Drug Abuse Quiz question 5
Video: Trailer: "Out of Reach"
Credit: Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
Teen Drug Abuse Quiz question 6
The Difference in Teen Drug Treatment
In teen-specific rehab programs, patients will be surrounded by other teens who are struggling with similar drug abuse issues. In group therapy, they can learn from others’ experiences and offer support. Since peer pressure plays such a big role in the teen drug scene, teens can make new friends and tap into positive peer pressure, helping them to resist relapse when they exit formal treatment.
Academics are also a core component of any teen drug treatment program. This ensures that teens in treatment don’t fall further behind on their schoolwork while they are getting the help they need for drug abuse issues.
Extended care is often recommended for teens struggling with drug abuse. According to an article in Addiction Medicine, it’s recommended that teens spend at least a year in treatment in order to have the best chance at long-term sobriety.
Is Treatment Necessary?
The truth is that it's extremely difficult to kick the drug habit without going through a proper youth addiction treatment program. Addiction is a complicated issue that often goes much deeper than simple curiosity. That's why most drug treatment programs that deal with teen drug abuse also include individual therapy, group therapy and medical care and treatment as part of the program.