Is Teen Substance Use Normal? Partnership to End Addiction

The average age of first marijuana use is 14, and alcohol use can start before age 12. Partying with innocent drugs like cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana is usually the gateway to more dangerous substances like OxyContin, heroin, LSD, and cocaine. Preliminary 1994 estimates indicate drug-related emergency department episodes for youth ages 12 to 17 increased by 17 percent from 1993 to 1994.

teen drug abuse

Transmission of HIV/AIDS primarily occurs through exposure to body fluids of an infected person during sexual contact or through sharing of unsterile drug-injection equipment. Another primary means of transmission is from mothers to infants during pregnancy or the birth process. Many substance-abusing youth engage in behavior that places them at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases. Rates of AIDS diagnoses currently are relatively low among teenagers, compared with most other age groups. However, because the disease has a long latency period before symptoms appear, it is likely that many young adults with AIDS were actually infected with HIV as adolescents.

Why Do Teens Use Drugs?

The changes in the not-fully-matured brain of teenagers cause teens to take unnecessary risks. It is difficult for many teenagers to resist the initial temptation of abusing drugs. The younger a teen starts using drugs creates the greater likelihood of progression to full-fledged drug addiction early in life and increases the chances of severe addiction later in life.

teen drug abuse

And teens may also use illicit drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine. Many friends and family members show pictures of using substances on social media. One of the main causes of teen drug use is the pressure they feel from friends and even family members. Part of that increase is due to the prevalence and access to these substances on social media. A teen can find someone with the substance online, request it online, pay online and then set up a time to meet – all without a parent or guardian noticing.

How can I help my teen avoid substance abuse?

While resources vary from community to community, be assured that help is within reach. Local resources include schools, medical professionals, mental health specialists and treatment providers. If you are searching for an addiction treatment provider specializing teen rehabilitation, start with your insurance company. Regardless of the program you choose, treatment should always start with a physical, as well as mental health assessments and chemical use history, to determine the appropriate level of care.

They may also be under the impression that everyone is doing it, so they want to fit in. Misusing multiple substances at once is extremely dangerous and can increase the chance of accidental fatal overdose. Cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines are drugs that are known to be used by older teens. Teenagers in Wyoming are 5.08% more likely to have used drugs in the last month than the average American teen.

Choosing the Right Treatment for Your Teen

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported more than 5,700 youth in 2014 misusing prescription drugs. Illicit drugs are substances that either stimulate or inhibit the central nervous system. They may be trying to deal with stress, painful emotions, or lessen social anxiety.

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Then, of course, when the time is right, you will discuss the incident and express how proud you are for your teen to have contacted you instead of making a wrong choice. The DUF study found the highest association between positive drug tests of male juvenile arrestees and their commission of drug-related crimes (e.g., sales, possession). However, a substantial rate of drug use also was found among youth who committed violent, property, and other crimes (National Institute of Justice, 1996).

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