The Dangers of Teenage Drug Abuse
Teenage drug abuse has never posed a greater danger than it does today. The fentanyl epidemic is perilous. Teens may think they are safe from the dangers of fentanyl if they stay away from opiates or pills. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Fentanyl has been found in marijuana – a drug many teens think is a recreational and potentially “safe” drug.
According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, as many as one in eight teens have experimented with drugs in the past year. And nearly 85 percent of them have smoked marijuana. The number of teens that have overdosed on opioids has increased 500 percent since 1999. That’s a staggering and devastating statistic. We must educate teens about the dangers of experimenting with drugs. The stakes have never been higher.
Teenage Drug Abuse Isn’t What It Used to Be
Many adults and parents today experimented with drugs or alcohol in their youth. After all, risk taking and trying new things is part of the teen experience. But smoking a joint or trying a drug today is completely different than it was even two decades ago. The danger of becoming a teenage addict has always existed, but the chance of dying while trying is at an all-time high.
Times have changed and we must face those changes by educating teens about the danger they face by trying any drug even one time. Because that’s the reality. Today’s teens do not have the option to experiment. They can die of an unintended fentanyl overdose the first time they use.
To protect teens, we need to understand why they experiment with drugs. Then we can talk to them and help them find healthy outlets to express themselves without the use of drugs or alchohol.
What Causes Teenage Drug Abuse?
If you’re a parent, you need know what causes teens to experiment with and abuse drugs. First, it’s important to remember that while teens think they’re grown up, research indicates that the adult brain isn’t fully developed until we’re in our twenties. Adults don’t need to point that out to teens, but they do need to understand it.
There are many reasons why teens experiment with drugs. Here are some of them:
- They’re suffering from mental health issues.
- They are Influenced by media or television series that show teenage drug use.
- They live in an unhealthy or drug-infused environment.
- They are bored or rebellious.
- They’re curious and want to know what it feels like to drink or use.
- They don’t know the danger they are facing.
- They are genetically predisposed to addiction.
There is no one clear cut answer why teens abuse drugs and alcohol. Still, it’s important to know the potential reason why they may drink or try drugs. Understanding the potential causes can help safeguard teens who are at risk.
Helping Teens Learn to Say No to Drugs
There are things you can do to protect your teens from trying drugs. If you suspect their mental health is suffering, get them help. The pandemic has had an impact on the mental health of today’s teens. According to the CDC, as many as one third of high schoolers experienced poor mental health during the pandemic. That’s a lot of kids trying to cope with a frightening and isolating experience. Some may still not be where they were pre-pandemic.
Outside of that, mental health disorders occur in teens regardless of world events. So be aware of your teen’s moods and behaviors. If you suspect they are becoming overly rebellious or seem depressed or anxious, intervene. Counseling and medication can help them get on track and prevent them from self-medicating or turning to drugs for relief.
Talk to your teens about the perils of fentanyl. Let them know that marijuana, cocaine, meth, and pills are all being laced with a drug that can kill them if they use just one time. They NEED TO KNOW that no drug is safe to experiment with.
What to Do If You Suspect Your Teen Is an Addict
Regardless of love, mental health support, and communication, some teens will still experiment and become addicted to drugs. If your teen is in trouble, help is available. Twelve step programs are tremendously successful. For best results, send your teen to a sober living environment.
Breakthrough Recovery Outreach offers programs for teens facing addiction. It’s a safe environment that offers teens the tools they need to get clean and stay clean.
If your teen is in trouble, please contact us. Our team is committed to protecting America’s youth from the perils of addiction.