If your image of teens who abuse drugs is comprised of kids in inner-city neighborhoods, you are not recognizing the big picture. The reality is, the teenagers who abuse drugs cross every socioeconomic barrier. In fact, privileged, high-achieving teens may be more likely to abuse drugs since they’re often under a tremendous amount of pressure to succeed. They may also have more access to money and dangerous prescription medicines such as Ritalin, Xanax, and painkillers. If their parents abuse alcohol or drugs such as marijuana, the risk amplifies.
Why Kids Take Drugs
There are multiple reasons why teens turn to drugs. These may include:
The need to fit in. Teens are often preoccupied with social status. If a peer group encourages drug or alcohol abuse, it’s easy for an impressionable teen to ignore long-learned rules in favor of gaining popularity. This may be especially true if a teen is trying to impress an older group of “friends” who are really not friends at all.
The need to relax. Grades, exams, sports, extracurricular clubs, work, social life — even “fun” activities cause stress for teenagers. Drugs provide temporary relief from anxiety, and make it easier to forget about life’s problems and worries. What teens don’t know is that using drugs makes stress and anxiety worse.
The need to rebel or experiment. Some teens have a need to flaunt their independence by ignoring authority. Rebelling by using drugs or alcohol is common, but it’s also extremely dangerous. Other teens simply give in to curiosity, with sometimes deadly consequences.
The need to escape. There are several factors that contribute to drug abuse. One is escape from mental health disorder symptoms such as panic, anxiety, insomnia, or depression. The other is escape from feeling alone or isolated. It can be extremely difficult for a lonely teen to cope with adolescence. When abusing a substance provides an easy source of false relief, it’s easy to see why a desperate teen would turn to drugs
Where Teens Get Drugs
Teens get drugs and alcohol more easily than you probably believe. Alcohol, marijuana, and painkillers are the most commonly abused drugs in the United States by a wide margin. Finding alcohol and marijuana is easy enough for many teens, but the latest information from the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that most people who overdose on painkillers get them from a friend or relative.
Make a habit of checking your medicine cabinet. Count your pills, and dispose of unused medicine safely. Do not flush it down the toilet or toss it in the trash. Instead, call your local police department, or look for a drug drop off program in your area.
Preventing Teen Drug Abuse
The best way to prevent your teen from starting drugs is to keep the lines of communication open. Talk to your kids about the real effects of drug abuse. Don’t make it impossible for your teen to share his experiences with you.
If he’s afraid of communicating with you, he may be more likely to lie. Watch for signs of substance abuse, which often include a change in grades and social habits. Never ignore it if your teen begins spending more time alone, or with a crowd of “friends” who don’t make you feel comfortable.
Call Clarity Way for More Information
For more information about teens and drugs, call Clarity Way today.