The Reality of Drug Abuse Among Teens
It is no secret that drug abuse among teens is a growing problem, with more and more young people turning to drugs as a means of coping with the pressures of everyday life. While the effects of drug use are often seen as physical, there are also numerous psychological consequences that can have devastating long-term effects on an individual’s well-being. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the reality of drug abuse among teens and what can be done to prevent it. Please visit EMRGENT Addiction & Recovery for more info.
Common Types of Drugs Used by Teens
- Alcohol: Alcohol is one of the most widely abused substances among teens, with approximately 70% of high school seniors reporting that they have consumed alcohol in the past year.
- Marijuana: Marijuana is another commonly used drug among teens, with almost half of high school seniors reporting having used it in the past year.
- Stimulants: Stimulants are drugs that increase alertness and focus and can include prescription medications such as Adderall or Ritalin, as well as “study drugs” like caffeine and nicotine.
- Hallucinogens: Hallucinogenic drugs cause hallucinations and distortions in perception and can range from LSD to mushrooms to bath salts (synthetic stimulants).
- Opioids: Opioids are highly addictive drugs typically prescribed to treat pain and can include oxycodone, codeine, morphine, and heroin.
- Inhalants: Inhalants are substances like paint thinner or hairspray that are inhaled to produce a high and can lead to serious health problems.
- Prescription Drugs: Teens may misuse prescription drugs for recreational purposes by taking them in higher doses than prescribed or by taking the medications of another person. This can be extremely dangerous since these medications were not meant for the individual’s body chemistry.
- Synthetic Drugs: Synthetic drugs such as Spice, K2, and bath salts are created in laboratories and have a wide range of dangerous side effects. These drugs are often sold at convenience stores or online and can be extremely addictive.
- Over-the-Counter Drugs: Teens may also abuse over-the-counter medications such as cough syrup or diet pills to get high or lose weight. This is especially dangerous since these medications were not meant to be abused in this way and can cause serious health problems.
- Designer Drugs: Designer drugs like MDMA (ecstasy) and GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) are synthetic substances that mimic the effects of other drugs but are chemically altered to avoid drug laws. They can be extremely dangerous due to their unknown ingredients and strength.
- Steroids: Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances that mimic the effects of testosterone, a hormone produced by the body. This drug is often used by teens to enhance athletic performance or physique and can have serious health risks.
- Kratom: Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is an herbal supplement derived from an evergreen tree in Southeast Asia that has become popular among teens for its opioid-like effects. Unfortunately, this substance can be addictive and may cause serious side effects such as liver damage and seizures.
- Synthetic Cannabinoids: Synthetic cannabinoids are drug substances designed to mimic the effects of marijuana but they can be much more potent and dangerous than the natural plant. These drugs are often sold at convenience stores or online and can cause serious side effects such as paranoia, seizures, and psychotic episodes.
- Salvia: Salvia divinorum is an herb that produces hallucinogenic effects when smoked or ingested and can lead to dissociation from reality, impaired coordination and slurred speech, confusion, anxiety, panic attacks, and even seizures.
- Bath Salts: Bath salts (synthetic stimulants) are substances that mimic the effects of cocaine and methamphetamines but with potentially more dangerous side effects such as severe paranoia, hallucinations, rapid heart rate, chest pains, and increased aggression.
The Causes of Drug Abuse in Teens
There are many different factors that can lead to drug abuse among teens. Common causes include peer pressure, easy access to drugs, lack of parental involvement, underlying mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, and exposure to violence or trauma. It is important to understand the root cause of drug use so that preventive measures can be taken to address the issue. For example, if peer pressure is identified as a major factor in a teen’s decision to use drugs, providing them with alternative activities or outlets for socializing may help reduce their risk.
The Effects of Drug Abuse in Teens
Drug abuse has serious physical and psychological consequences. Physically, drug use can lead to long-term health problems such as liver damage, heart problems, and even death in extreme cases. On the psychological side, drug abuse can increase the risk for depression and anxiety disorders due to changes in brain chemistry caused by substance use. Drug abuse also increases the chance for addiction later on in life; research has found that teens who begin using drugs before age 14 are seven times more likely to develop an addiction than those who wait until adulthood.
Clear Signs That Your Teen May Be Using Drugs
If you suspect your teen may be using drugs there are some telltale signs you should look out for including mood swings or sudden changes in behavior; withdrawing from friends or family; skipping school or suddenly doing poorly academically; frequent lying; financial issues from spending money on drugs; and physical symptoms such as reddened eyes or poor hygiene. If you notice any of these signs it is important to talk with your child about your concerns and seek professional help if needed.
No one wants their child to suffer from the adverse effects of drug abuse but it is unfortunately a reality for many families today. By understanding why teens turn towards drug use we can better equip ourselves with tools and resources necessary for prevention and intervention when necessary. If you suspect your teen may be using drugs it is important to talk openly with them about your concerns while also seeking professional help if needed. Together we can work towards reducing rates of drug abuse among teens and ensure they get the support they need during this difficult time in their lives.