Teens have always been experimenters and risk takers. It’s a part of growing up. But when it involves drugs, the risks can have serious consequences. From poor grades to legal troubles and even death, teen drug abuse can have a number of detrimental impacts on an individual’s life. If you are the parent of a teen, be aware of the facts about teen drug use, how harmful these bad choices can be and how to prevent them.
The Prevalence of Drug Use
Times have changed since you were in high school. Today teens have access to an array of drugs you may never have imagined when you were younger. The most often used and abused drug among teens is marijuana, with 15 percent of 8th graders and 43 percent of high school seniors having tried it at least once. High school drug use also includes plenty of prescription medications. Narcotic painkillers and medications prescribed to treat ADHD are among the most commonly abused. In fact, more teens have died from abusing these prescriptions than the number that have overdosed on cocaine and heroin together.
Drugs Use Has Consequences
One of the most dangerous aspects of teens abusing drugs is that the most commonly used, marijuana and prescriptions, are considered by many to be safe and risk-free. Both are harmful and can have serious impacts on the lives of teens, but attitudes toward them are lax. This contributes to the danger as teens mix substances and use them in dangerous amounts because of the perception of low-risk.
Drug abuse facts show that teens using marijuana regularly are more likely to perform poorly in academics. While addiction and overdose are unlikely with this drug, it does affect a teen’s performance in school, athletics and extra-curricular activities. Many opportunities for success end up wasted when a teen spends time getting high instead of engaging in activities.
Prescription drug abuse is even more harmful than marijuana. Painkillers are particularly dangerous and are easy to overdose on. Deaths caused by these prescriptions have been rising over the last decade and teens are among the fatalities. Another harm caused by these medications is addiction. They are highly addictive and what starts as casual use can quickly lead to a life-altering habit. Addiction to narcotics can be incredibly difficult to overcome and can totally derail a teen’s life.
The drug abuse facts and statistics about how teens use substances are frightening to read. It is important for both teens and their parents to understand the dangers and consequences of drug abuse. Education can help to prevent the senseless deaths and the other types of harm that drugs cause to teens and their loved ones. As a parent, you are the biggest influence in your child’s life. By stepping up and having a conversation about drugs you can prevent substance abuse and all the negative outcomes.