Drug addiction and abuse among teenagers is a serious problem in America. In most cases, it begins as a result of peer pressure, problems with depression or anxiety, or a traumatic experience in the child’s past. In certain instances, there is no obvious reason why some teens decide to experiment with drugs, but getting help is essential if the person is to live a normal, drug-free life.
Substances Most Commonly Abused by Teenagers
Teenagers are more likely to experiment and use multiple substances when compared with the adult population. Because the body and brain of a teenager are still in important stages of development, the physical and mental impact of using various substances can be significant.
Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance among teenagers in America. Research conducted by the Century Council indicates that approximately 9,000,000 individuals between the ages of 12 and 18 have admitted to using alcohol within the last 30 days. The same report also shows that teenagers who drink typically do so more frequently as they age. For example, the percentage of young people who regularly consume alcohol is 1% at age 12, but 29% by age eighteen. The most common starting age for drinking alcohol is fifteen.
Marijuana ranks second only to alcohol as the most commonly abused drug by teenagers. According to the Huffington Post, 6.5% of teenagers living in the United States smoke marijuana daily, as opposed to 2.4% who smoked the substance on a daily basis in 1998. Additionally, a study completed at the Yale University School of Medicine reported that there is evidence to suggest marijuana is a “gateway drug,” meaning that those who use this substance are at an increased risk of moving on to more dangerous substances and h2er addictions in the future. The study also showed that an increase in marijuana use among teens has occurred since the media firestorm concerning its legalization and the relatively new social perception of marijuana as a harmless substance.
Finally, coming in third are prescription drugs such as Vicodin, Percocet, Xanax and Adderall. Interestingly, substances of this kind are most often obtained from the parents of the teen, rather than purchased on the street. However, when parents or teachers become aware of the problem, approximately a third of such teenagers will eventually resort to purchasing pills of this type through illicit means.
Although not many teenagers begin with street drugs, many end up buying substances such as ecstasy, crack cocaine or methamphetamines from street dealers after becoming accustomed to the use of milder substances, such as the aforementioned marijuana and alcohol or prescription pills.
Any teenager struggling with alcohol or prescription medication abuse, or who uses marijuana or illegal drugs, needs a comprehensive treatment program in order to take the first step toward recovery. A qualified treatment center will offer a suitable program, based on a variety of factors such as the age of the teenager, the trigger that led to the dependency and numerous other aspects specific to his or her life. For this reason, seeking an appropriate recovery program is of the utmost importance for any teen who is facing an addiction.