Teenage drugs and alcohol abuse remain a primary health concern. While teen drug abuse statistics show adolescent drug use has seen a decline in recent years, many still experiment on substances such as alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamines.
You’re probably asking yourself this question: is my teenage child using drugs? Whatever reason you may have for seeing this article, we’re here to give you answers. Read more to learn about warning signs that your teen might be using substances.
How Common is Teen Drug Use?
According to a report made by the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDA), at least 1-out-of-8 teenagers are abusing illegal drugs. They also reported that 86% of teenagers know someone who uses or abuses illicit substances during a school day. In the same report, at least 4,777 Americans aged between 15 to 24 died due to drug overdose, representing 11.2% of total drug overdose deaths in 1 year.
More Stats on Teenage Drug Use
If you’re wondering what is the number one drug used by teens, the most commonly found are alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco. The following statistics can give you a glimpse of how many teens use drugs in the United States alone:
- About two-thirds of students have tried alcohol upon reaching 12th grade.
- Nearly half of 9th through 12th grader students have experienced marijuana use.
- Close to 2 in 10 students in the 12th grade reported using prescription medicine without proper prescription.
- 43% of college students use illicit drugs.
- About 11.89 million 18- to 25-year-olds used drugs in the last month.
Factors That Influence Teenage Drug Addictions
Many factors can influence the probability of a child misusing and abusing drugs. Some of the most common ones are:
- Peer pressure
- Stress or Mental Health Issues
- Desire to escape
It’s easy to explain why drug abuse is more common with teens whose family members abuse drugs. Parental drug abuse can have detrimental impacts on a child. As parents establish a norm in which substance abuse becomes a part, you can be sure that those norms could reverberate to children.
Signs That Your Kid May Be Using Drugs
Spotting these warning signs early on can help you identify whether your child may be using drugs. By observing these signs and taking the proper steps, you can prevent your kid from risking harmful consequences to their health and school life.
When someone becomes controlled by addiction, you can typically notice it on their physical appearance. These changes can be rapid and make the person unrecognizable from the normal you’re used to seeing. A shaky hands teenager isn’t the only indicator to watch out for.
Signs of Drug Use on the Face & Body:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Constricted pupils
- Changes in complexion such as a paler skin
- Increased facial acne
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Interrupted sleep patterns
- Poor hygiene or lack of interest in grooming
- Involuntary shaky hands
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), common psychological signals of drug use in adolescents include acting withdrawn, tired, depressed, or even hostile. Here are possible psychological tell-tale signs that your teenager may be at risk of full-blown drug addiction:
- Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
- Lowered self-esteem and lack of confidence that is not present beforehand
- Poor drive and motivation
- Irritability, violent mood swings, and unpredictable temperaments
- Absenteeism in school
- Poor decision making; individuals suffering from addiction typically find it challenging to make sound decisions
- Increased conflict; Drug addiction can increase a teenager’s frequency to get into arguments and physical confrontations
- Individuals who are hooked on substances are more likely to turn to crime
What to Do if Your Kid Uses Drugs
Families play an essential role in addiction prevention. Experts agree that addiction can be a family disease, throwing entire households into turmoil.
As a parent, the best thing that you can do to prevent your child from resorting to drugs is to cultivate positive family influences, such as family bonding and laying consistent but reasonable rules. Studies show that positive family influences reduce the risk of alcohol, marijuana, and other drug use among teenagers. Negative family influences, on the other hand, appear to increase that risk.
Yes, those teenage drug addiction stories you’ve heard are true.
Here are ways that you can better cultivate a strong positive influence on your child:
- Communicate. Show your teen that you can be present and understanding. Actively listening can also do wonders.
- Encourage positivity. Consistent encouragements can help your child build the confidence, passion, and creativity they need, especially in trying out new activities.
- Set a fine example. Children can emulate positive behaviors and healthy habits, especially if it starts with parents.
- Set boundaries. Setting reasonable boundaries and limits show that you care as a parent, making your child feel safe, loved, and valued.
What Not To Do
Drug addiction in teens can pose challenges that you’d rather not face. But, no matter how hard you may try, there really isn’t any way to guarantee 100% that your child will forever refrain from using substances. If you spot some of the signs mentioned above and are confident that your teenager is using drugs, the last thing you want to do is blame yourself. The best thing to do is seek treatment immediately so your child can be on their way to recovery.