Teenage and adolescent drug abuse have been major national health threats for decades – and the rates of teenage drug use are always on the rise. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the chemical substances most commonly used by teenagers are nicotine, alcohol, and marijuana. Inhalants are also commonly abused among teenagers and young adults because they are easily accessed and are far more affordable than other illicit substances. Among adolescents who are in the 8th grade, past annual use of inhalants increased from 3.8 percent in the year 2016 to 6.1 percent in the year 2020. This equates to a 64 percent increase. While the rates of marijuana use decreased slightly, 1.7 percent of 8th graders admitted to vaping marijuana regularly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that by the time teenagers enter into 12th grade, roughly two out of every three will have already experimented with alcohol. Roughly one half of all 9th through 12th graders admitted using marijuana at least one time, and roughly 4 out of every 10 admitted to trying nicotine – either smoking cigarettes or vaping. Why are the rates of drug use among teenagers so high? What are the reasons behind teenage drug use, and what can we as a society do to prevent it?
Reasons Why Teenagers Use Drugs
The teenage years are exceptionally difficult for many. While this is an infamous time of awkwardness and personal development, it can be very difficult to navigate without the proper support system in place. Teenagers who do not have access to a supportive family system, for example, are more inclined to reach for chemical substances earlier on in life.
Drug Use is Rampant Among Teenagers
Because teenagers are still developing both physically and mentally, abusing chemical substances at a young age can easily lead to permanent developmental issues. If you are concerned that your teenager has been abusing chemical substances of any kind, it is important to intervene right away. The first step you can take is sitting down one-on-one and having a non-accusatory conversation with your teenager. Address the subject with compassion and concern, and ask questions in a way that doesn’t place any blame or seem threatening. If your teenager does not admit to a drug abuse problem and you know he or she has been using drugs, reach out for professional help. In some cases, an intervention might be necessary. At Evoke Wellness, we work very closely with several licensed interventionists – all of who boast very high success rates. If you believe that rehab has become a matter of life or death but you need help encouraging your teenager to seek the treatment he or she needs, we are available to help. Simply give us a call and we will gladly put you into contact with an on-staff interventionist. There are several other reasons why teenagers are more inclined to use drugs, including:
- Peer pressure.
- School-related stress and the pressure to do well.
- A negative home environment. Chemical substances can be used as a form of escape, or as an unhealthy method of self-medication.
- Drug access.
- A desire to feel more “mature” and “grown-up.”
The risks involved in teenage drug abuse are significant, and include:
- An impact on the healthy development of the brain
- A negative impact on the overall growth and development of teenagers
- The development of more health issues during adulthood, like heart disease, sleep-related issues like insomnia, and chronic high blood pressure
- An increase in risk-taking behaviors, like having unprotected sex or driving while intoxicated, leads to an increase in personal consequences
Evoke Wellness and Age-Specific Treatment
At Evoke Wellness, we offer an age-specific treatment program for younger adults who have been struggling with drug abuse. For more information on our comprehensive, age-specific drug addiction treatment program, give us a call today for a confidential assessment. We offer age-specific treatment programs at our various facilities along the Northeast.