Teen drug abuse is a problem because it leads to poor academic performance, chronic illness such as heart attack, cancer or blood pressure, school dropout, and in extreme cases suicidal thoughts and death.
A teen is a group of young adults between the ages of 13 to 19 years. Across the globe, most are in school and still pursuing their studies. However, for reasons such as low self-esteem, traumatic life events, desire for acceptance, access to drugs, and family history of drugs, a number of teens end up abusing drugs at that young age.
In this article, I will share some top facts regarding drug abuse among teens. These facts are from research done across the globe and they cut across numerous schools and households.
a) More than half of college students abuse drugs
Data from National Survey on Drug Use and Health has it that 54.9% of full-time college students between the ages of 18 and 22 have tasted alcohol which is one of the drugs that most college students abuse. Below are some of the reasons why most teens abuse drugs.
- Influence from friends
- Managing a traumatic experience
- Influence by media through TV Shows, Music, celebrities, and movies
- Family history of abusing drugs
There are numerous effects of drug abuse among teens such as drug addiction, poor grades, missing school, questionable behavior, stealing, and suicide in worse-case scenarios.
b) Drug abuse as a teen can cause drug disorders in adulthood.
Research by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration pegs a whopping 74% of drug disorders in adults to a history of teen drug abuse.
Some of the common visible characteristics of drug disorder are:
- Anxiety and worry
- Bloodshot eyes
- The body experiencing shakes and trauma
- Lack of focus
- Reduction in motivation
- Poor financial management because of drug use
c) Depression in teens has a close relationship with drug abuse
Depression and stress are one of the causes of drug abuse among teens. A study found that emotional stability has a direct effect on drug abuse levels among teenagers.
In simple terms, teenagers who are emotionally weak and vulnerable are likely to end up in addiction. Some of the ways in which teens can overcome depression include: finding a support system, getting enough sleep, going for medical check-ups, and exercising more often
d) The rate of marijuana use in high schools is very high
A survey by Monitoring the Future Survey from the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that 39% of students in colleges abuse marijuana. This is a high statistic as this can result in drug addiction among this young and productive population.
Some of the ways to prevent drug use in colleges are setting rules, educating them about the adverse effects of using drugs, and offering support to those who are already in addiction. Marijuana also known as a weed or bhang has numerous health effects on the end-user.
e) Most teenagers are not aware of the risks of smoking bhang
General statistics have it that only 31% know the health effects of smoking marijuana. This is a worrying trend as marijuana has long-term effects on the health of individuals.
Below are some of the risks of smoking bhang.
- Mood changes
- Damage to the memory
- Effect of problem-solving capacity
- Suicide thoughts
f) Liquor is widely used by teenagers.
Data by the National Institute of Drug Abuse has it that 24.6% percent of teenagers have tasted alcohol either by sipping, taking it once, or consuming alcohol on a regular basis.
The best ways to prevent the consumption of alcohol by teenagers is by involving them in activities, giving them reasons to say no to drugs, and not keeping alcohol within their reach. Some of the risks of alcohol drinking by teenagers are:
- Alcohol poisoning
- Drug driving can result in accidents
- Unprotected sex makes them vulnerable to STDS
- Suicidal thoughts
- Drug addiction
h) Teen drug abuse also involves over-the-counter medications
Over-the-counter medicines are drugs that you buy without proper medical analysis or a prescription by a physician. Some teens purchase these drugs to help them stay awake and alert in class or for self-treatment and in other circumstances to help them sleep better.
Some of the tactics you can use to avoid abusing over-the-counter drugs are:
- Ensuring you read and follow the written directions
- Consult a doctor when you experience a challenge with a medicine
- Taking a minimum dose of any particular drug
- Stop taking a drug when you experience allergies
i) Drug abuse among teenagers can be fatal
Research by Trust for America Health Report reports that most teenagers. This is because some of them engage in drunk driving which can lead to accidents or death to overdosing the drugs.
How to Prevent Drug Abuse among teenagers
With all the facts about drug abuse among teenagers, the best step that parents, guardians, and caregivers can take is to prevent drug use among teenagers. This will help you detect the early stages of drug use and prevent it.
Some of the ways you can tell a teenager is abusing drugs are through poor hygiene, change in routines, being secretive and general changes in day-to-day behaviors.
However, all hope is not lost, you can still prevent drug use through these ways:
- Monitoring your teenager’s activities
- Asking for accountability from where they were
- Getting to know their friends and mentors
- Setting family rules in the house
- Being available for support and educating them on drugs
- Becoming the best example, they can emulate
Drug disorder among adults has been found to have roots in abusing drugs as a teenager. As always, prevention is better than cure. You can choose to be keen on your teens’ activities and whereabouts and with this information, you will be in a position to decide better on the best ways to handle drug use in them.
Further, you can ask them for their views regarding drug use so that they also participate in setting rules and regulations regarding drug abuse.