Drug Abuse among Teens: Reasons, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention 4


This is a guest post by Roger Pahuriray who writes about illegal drugs abuse among teenagers. Drugs abuse is one of the possible symptoms of depression in teenagers. Roger describes the reasons for which drugs abuse is so widespread among teenagers and gives some hints to help parents recognize symptoms of drugs abuse in their children.

According to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 22 million Americans use illegal drugs. 21.5% are aged 18 to 25 years old and 10% are aged 12 to 17, bringing the total of young illegal drug users to 35.5%. That’s almost 8 million drug users who are mostly in their teens. What’s more alarming is the number of high school students who abuse drugs even during school days. According to a survey done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse in Columbia University (CASAColumbia), New York in 2012, about 17% or roughly 2.8 million high school students abuse drugs even on school days. The survey was done among American high school students, and a staggering 90% of the participants confirmed that a number of their classmates do use illegal drugs during school days.

The figures are disturbing, but before you can research on treatment facilities or sober living homes that can help clean up these kids’ act, it is important to determine what it is exactly that makes drug abuse among American teens so rampant these days. One factor that we can put the blame on is social media. According to CASAColumbia’s survey, 75% of the teen respondents said that the sight of other teens partying, drinking, and taking illegal drugs on Facebook and other social networking sites made them want to do the same.

“Seeing teens partying with alcohol or marijuana on Facebook and other sites encourages other teens to want to party like that,” stated Emily Feinstein, CASAColumbia’s survey project director and senior policy analyst. “Clearly, parents really need to help children navigate that world safely,” Feinstein added. The problem is that social media is only one of the reasons why teens resort to drug abuse. There are 5 major reasons why drug use is rampant among teens:

  • Easy Access. Drug use among teens has become more prevalent because drugs have become quite easy to get. 54% of the students at private high schools reported that drugs are accessible in their schools while 61% of students at public high schools referred to their schools as “drug infested”.

  • Low Self-Esteem / Social Acceptance. A 2010 study done by Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) showed that teens drink or use drugs “because it is fun, makes parties more fun, and helps them fit in with their peers and not feel left out.” The desire to achieve social acceptance and the approval of others can lead teens to engage in destructive or unhealthy behavior. Moreover, teens who have low self-esteem are more likely to engage in drug use.

  • Stress. According to a study done by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, 73% of teens believed that the main reason for drug use is to deal with stress and pressure at school. Ironically, the same study revealed that only 7% of the parents believed that teens would resort to drug use to deal with stress. This just goes to show how parents underestimate stress and its impact on teens, and how it can compel children to use drugs.Drugs abuse in teenagers

  • Self-Medication. Everyone knows how rough and stressful teenage years are. Many teens experience depression and anxiety due to all of their pent-up emotions. If proper outlets aren’t present, they resort to self-medication or the taking of illegal or prescription drugs to cope with the emotional and psychological pressures that come with teenage life. What’s disturbing is that according to the 2010 PATS study, 51% of American teens said they get prescription drugs from the medicine cabinets their families have at home.
  • Misinformation. Studies show that 41% of teens have this wrong notion that prescription drugs are safer to use than illegal drugs. About 1 out of 5 teens admitted to taking prescription medications like painkillers for stress management or recreational use. Parents have a major role in this growing trend. According to a 2010 study of PATS, 22% of parents think it’s okay to give children prescription drugs even though it’s not prescribed to them. This just goes to show how misinformed and lax parents can inadvertently introduce prescription drug use among their children.

Parents must recognize the signs of drug use in their teens to be able to address the issue early. As a parent you wouldn’t want to see your child enter rehabilitation centers and sober living homes for drug problems. Here are a few symptoms that parents should be wary of to nip addiction in the bud:

  • Eye drops to mask dilated pupils or bloodshot eyes.
  • Change in choice of clothes or fascination with clothes symbolizing drug use.
  • Change in friends.
  • Evidence of paraphernalia in drug use like rolling paper, pipes, and more.
  • Evidence of inhalant usage like pressurized canisters, hairsprays, nail polish, and more.
  • Heightened secrecy.
  • Increased amount of money borrowed.
  • Missing prescription drugs from medicine cabinet, usually, mood stabilizers and narcotics.
  • Changes in school performance – cutting classes, declining grades, and more.
  • Sudden use of incense or air freshener.
  • Sudden or increased use of breath mints or mouthwash.
  • Subtle changes when talking to friends – use of codes, more secretive behavior, and more.

Studies show that teens who learn the risks of drugs use from their parents are 50% less likely to try or abuse drugs than those who aren’t told about it at home. The sad thing is, only 32% of teens say that they’ve had such conversations with their parents. If such conversations regularly take place, interventions won’t be needed. For those whose children are already taking drugs, seek the help of professionals at top-notch rehab facilities and sober living homes right away. Stage an intervention the soonest time possible and give them much needed support.

Author’s Bio

Roger Pahuriray is an SEO Specialist who’s had extensive experience in Outreach Program. This time he brings his extensive SEO expertise to Casa Nuevo Vida Sober Living Homes where he tackles addiction and sobriety issues. The articles he posts will surely be informative and comprehensive especially for individuals who are in dire need of these resources. As an SEO Specialist for PinAgency.com, he works full-time catering to an impressive pool of clients like SweetSweat.com among many others.

4 thoughts on “Drug Abuse among Teens: Reasons, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

  • Tali Shenfield

    I would like to add to this article that there is a new phenomenon of using social media such as Facebook to share with friends drug induced “awesome experience”. It creates social pressure to try drugs. I recently treated a 16 y.o. patient, who told me that he was pretending to take Ecstasy because all his FB friends were posting their experiences…

    • Denny Dew Post author

      The problem with drug consumption is that society blames drug addicts and this doesn’t help. It’s an additional problem instead. All this blaming is intended to distract attention from the profound sickness of modern culture, which is the true cause of any attempt to escape. You wouldn’t escape a sane way of life.

      To paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr.:
      We must be concerned not merely about drug addicts, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the drug addict.

  • kanuth gwivaha

    there is a page in facebook which encourage youth to use marijuana known as kayambula in mbarali mbeya but they acted as a fans of a certain team

    • Denny Dew Post author

      Unhappily, many young people use drugs because they are depressed and drugs make them feel better.
      The problem is that drugs don’t solve depression.
      Depression is easy to solve and there is no need for drugs.
      I wish young people who take drugs to find the help they need and deserve.

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