The Myths of Teenage Drug Abuse

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Teenage drug abuse is something you’ve probably learned about in school or seen on TV.  You probably already know someone that has used drugs; maybe you’ve experimented with drugs or alcohol yourself.  Experimenting with drugs and alcohol may seem ok, after all, not everyone gets addicted, right?  The fault in that logic is that you never know if you can be the one.  Are you willing to risk everything, your family, your friends, and your future just to get high?

Teenage Drug Abuse Myths

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions circling around about teenage drug abuse.  Have you heard any of these?

Myth #1- Marijuana isn’t addictive. WRONG. Marijuana IS addictive, 1 in 11 people who use it become addicted to marijuana, according to the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA).

Myth #2- My doctor prescribed my Ritalin, so it’s not teenage drug abuse. WRONG.  Any use of a prescription drug beyond what is directed by your doctor is drug abuse.  Any use of a prescription drug to get high is drug abuse, any use of a prescription drug prescribed to someone else is drug abuse, get the picture?

Myth #3 – One time won’t hurt me.   WRONG.  One drink, one pill or one injection may not do permanent damage to your body, but it may cloud your judgment and the results of decisions you make while drunk or high may have a permanent impact.  Think about HIV or a car accident.

Myth #4- Drinking isn’t dangerous if I’m not driving.  WRONG.  Car accidents are the #1 cause of death among teens- 45% of those fatalities involve alcohol.  You cannot control how much someone else drinks.  The only way to ensure your safety is to stay sober yourself.

Myth #5- Treatment doesn’t work for teens. WRONG.  There are a lot of specialized substance abuse and addiction treatment programs in the world that are designed especially for teens.  You may feel more comfortable getting treatment with others your own age, or others that have been in the same boat.  Treatment is accessible and it works.

Teenage Drug Abuse and Peer Pressure

Fitting in can be pretty hard, especially if you’re the new kid, part of an alternative social crowd, or enjoy hobbies and activities that aren’t “popular”.  Peer pressure in high school can make us do things we wouldn’t normally do – from trying a beer at a party to experimenting with marijuana and popping pills.  Pretty soon, without realizing it, you may find you whole world turned upside down just to “fit in”.

It can be hard to see your friends use drugs and alcohol and even harder to be the only one that doesn’t. If your old friends are moving in a direction you don’t like, find a new crowd, a new hobby or a new place to hang out. Respect yourself enough to leave a situation with teenage drug abuse.  Don’t put yourself in a position to be peer pressured in a negative way.  If you’re going to a party where you suspect there may be drugs and alcohol, tell a friend before you go that you will not use drugs or drink alcohol; it will make it easier when decision time comes and you have someone to back you up.  Don’t be afraid to speak up- likely someone else is just as uncomfortable as you are – be a leader.