Youth Drug Use
Teen and youth drug use and experimentation is nothing new. It is however on the rise. According to the CDC, Alcohol, Marijuana, and Tobacco are the most abused drugs by teens currently. In high school, more and more teenagers are exposed to drugs and alcohol and it becomes tempting to try them.
The CDC also states that about 50 percent of all high school students between 9th and 12th grade have tried Marijuana at some point, commonly associated as a gateway drug. It’s important for both parents as well as school to bring awareness and explain the downsides that can occur from drug use and experimentation.
Youth Drug Use Signs and Symptoms
If you suspect your child may be using or experimenting with drugs, there are a few common warning signs that you can pay attention to. Before jumping to any conclusions, it is important to have an open conversation with them to make sure these signs are different from the normal stress associated with being a high school student.
Common Teen Drug Use Signs:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Slurred Speech
- A sudden drop in grades
- A sudden lack of motivation
- Constantly napping and sleeping for long periods of time
- Smell of smoke on clothes or breath
- Missing money, prescription medications, or alcohol
- Avoiding eye contact
Most Commonly Abused Drugs by Teens
- Marijuana – Marijuana or Weed, is commonly one of the first drugs teens try in highschool. The effects of Marijuana vary for some users but it tends to give a relaxed state of being and can cause a rise in appetite “the munchies”. Marijuana is commonly viewed as a gateway drug simply because it is the first drug that many teens try.
- Alcohol – Alcohol is another very commonly used drug by today’s youth. At high school parties, alcohol is always the go to drug. Many teens often know where their parents alcohol collection is and steal it or siphon it for consumption. Alcohol use is particularly dangerous because of alcohol poisoning and alcohol withdrawal. If you have an alcohol collection somewhere in your home and also have a teenager, it can be a great idea to lock the area where the alcohol is stored.
- Tobacco – With the rise of electronic cigarettes, vapes, and Juul, tobacco continues to be a regularly used drug by teens. It seems that fewer and fewer teens are smoking cigarettes in favor of electronic versions due to the variety of flavors available.
- Prescription Drugs – Prescription drugs such as Adderall and painkillers are often abused as well. Adderall is commonly seen as a “study drug” due the the extreme level of focus that many users feel after taking it. Much like alcohol, prescribed painkillers are often stolen from medicine cabinets for either personal use or at times selling. Keep count of the amount of pills you have in your cabinet or keep prescription medications locked or hidden away.
How to Talk to Your Kids About Drug Use
If you suspect that your child is abusing drugs, don’t fear just yet. They may be in early stages of experimenting or have just seen others trying them. While it can be difficult to have these conversations, the earlier you explain to them the dangers of drugs, the better chance you have of getting through to them. Depending on the age of your child, establish clear boundaries with them with either verbal or non verbal contracts. Setting a curfew and check in expectations can be a great way to stay on top of their behavior. As a parent, try your best to stay on top of their group of friends and who they are hanging out with. If possible, develop a relationship with the parents of their friends as well.
Seeking Addiction Help for Your Child.
If your child is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, there are many youth programs for teens 18 and under. If they are over 18, more options are readily available to you if they are still on your insurance plan. If you have any questions or if we can help you and your child overcome addiction, please reach out to us 24/7 at (800)387-6907
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