Drug Abuse Prevention in Teens

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Drug abuse prevention in teens is necessary to protect their health, safety/wellbeing, psychological states, school productivity, learning ability and more. It’s important for teens to learn about the dangers of drugs and drug abuse during these formative years as it can also have a great effect on what their actions and behaviors will be like later on as college students and adults out in the world.

High School Drug Abuse

In order for drug abuse prevention to be effective, the facts of substance abuse must be discussed. In 2013, the National Institute on Drug Abuse conducted their annual survey on high school drug use. Over 40,000 students participated (public and private school students) from the 8th, 10th and 12th grades. Here are a few of the major findings that can help with teen drug abuse prevention…

  • Over 25% of 10th graders and nearly 40% of 12th graders consumed alcohol in the last 30 days.
  • In the past 30 days, almost 20% of 10th graders and over 25% of 12th graders used illicit drugs.
  • Almost twice as many senior year high school students regard regular marijuana use as not being harmful. Marijuana use among teens has been increasing as the belief amongst teens that regular marijuana use is harmful has been decreasing.
  • Synthetic drug use is down.
  • Prescription drugs are the most used drugs by senior students following marijuana.

Speaking to Teens about Drug Abuse Prevention

These statistics shouldn’t dishearten the parents and other family members of teens, as they explain just how teens view drugs. Knowing why these young adults make the decisions they make gives a clearer picture of how to speak to them about drug abuse.

The good news is that it seems the overwhelming majority of teens are concerned about their health, safety and well being. Marijuana use among teens continues to increase as a correlation of marijuana being viewed as less harmful. Dangerous synthetic drug use has decreased dramatically. Prescription drugs are the next most abused substances by teens after marijuana likely because they are not illegal or illicit drugs so teens may mistake them for not being so harmful.

Speak to your teen openly and honestly about drug abuse prevention. Explain that while marijuana is certainly not as harmful as many once thought, the THC levels of the drug have increased significantly over the years. The marijuana sold illegally does not have the checks and balances of say marijuana sold in dispensaries to clients with valid medical cards.

Speak to your teen about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Let them know that substances can have very dangerous consequences (physically and mentally) when used incorrectly or when obtained without a prescription. Many of these substances can even have fatal consequences. Having an honest conversation respects their abilities to understand why drug abuse is a poor choice thus reinforcing what you are teaching them about drug abuse prevention.