Understanding Drug Abuse And Teens

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Drug abuse and teens is a topic that many shy away from, but is very important to discuss with your family. Most parents want to shield their children from all of the bad things in life. However, it is impossible to shield a child from everything. This is especially true once a child hits his or her teen years. The scary truth is that thirteen-year-old kids are now being introduced to drugs and alcohol.

Drug Abuse And Teens: The Facts

• Many parents worry about their teens using cocaine and heroin. However, teens are actually more likely to abuse prescription drugs than illicit drugs.

• Teens are likely to be exposed to drugs when they are at school; sixty percent of teen drug users have reported that there were drugs kept and sold at their school.

• Using alcohol increases a teen’s chances of using an illicit drug. Teens who drink alcohol are 50 times more likely to become cocaine users.

• Many young people start using drugs before they reach high school. Nearly 30 percent of kids have consumed alcohol by the eighth grade. Fifteen percent of kids have smoked cigarettes, and 15 percent have tried marijuana.

Signs Of Drug Abuse

Teens who abuse drugs may lie, break curfew, skip school and make excuses for their behavior. They may also become physically or verbally abusive towards others. Mood swings are also very common in teens with a drug problem. In many cases, drug abuse is hard to detect. That is why parents are encouraged to have their child psychologically or medically evaluated if they suspect that their child has a drug problem.

Dangers Of Teen Drug Abuse

One of the reasons that drug abuse and teens is such an important topic is because drugs can have serious effects on a teenager. Teens who use drugs are more likely to be violent and engage in reckless sexual behavior. They are also more likely to commit crimes. Liver disease, strokes and cancer are some of the serious problems that can result from long-term drug use.

What Can Parents do to Prevent Drug Abuse?

There are things that can be done that may help prevent teenagers from getting hooked on drugs. One of the most important things that parents can do to prevent their teens from abusing drugs is to talk to them on a regular basis. Teens are 40 percent less likely to use drugs if their parents regularly educate them about the dangers. Unfortunately, only 25 percent of teens have reported that their parents regularly talk to them about drugs. Drug abuse and teens can be hard to talk about; discussing drugs with your child may not go smoothly. It may be difficult. But it can make a difference. Avoid accusatory language and try to foster a loving, caring discussion.

It is also very important for parents to get to know their child’s friends. Peer pressure can have a major influence on a teen. By being involved with your child’s life, setting positive examples, and being a strong role model, you can set a good foundation for your teenager.