Drugs and alcohol are often easily accessible to children, adolescents, and teens. As a parent, you can have a major impact on your child’s decision to not use drugs or drink. However, learning how to protect your child from drugs and alcohol can be challenging. Many parents are concerned about becoming so strict that their children engage in substance abuse to rebel. Others may struggle with their alcohol or drug problems themselves, which increases their children’s risk of following in their footsteps. If you’re a concerned parent or simply preparing for the future, our Pompano drug rehab is sharing tips on how parents can prevent drug abuse.
Causes of Teen Drug Use
The teen years can be the toughest. From the end of middle school to high school, kids are constantly developing physically, mentally, and socially. And with that comes experimentation.
Once teens reach high school, they’re often bombarded by the pressure of either maintaining their grades to get into a good college, engaging in extracurricular activities, and maintaining a social life, all while they figure out what they want to do after high school. That’s a lot!
In addition to these normal stressors, it’s also common for teens to face pressure and ridicule from their peers when they don’t fit in with certain trends or social standards. They may also feel pressured by their parents and academic advisors to keep their grades up. Their mental health can even take a toll.
In a stage of so much development, it’s easy to understand why drug use in high school students is so common. Below are some common reasons for or causes of teen drug use.
- They want to fit in: Arguably, the most common reason for drug use in high schoolers and adolescents is to fit in. Most teens feel an enormous amount of pressure to follow the latest trends and do what their peers are doing to sustain a high social status among their friends. One of these trends may include using drugs and alcohol. Many teens think that because their other peers are doing it, they have to do it too, or they won’t be accepted in certain social circles.
- They’re curious: Curiosity and experimentation are also normal in teenagers, but they can lead to serious consequences. Sometimes, adolescents are simply curious about experiencing new things, like getting high or intoxicated.
- They want to do better in school: Going back to the pressure of keeping up with grades and extracurriculars, we’re in a very competitive society, in which pressure to perform academically and athletically can be overwhelming. Some teens may turn to certain drugs, such as prescription stimulants like Adderall, in an attempt to increase their performance.
- They want to feel better: Whether it’s due to family history or the many stressors that teens experience in this delicate stage of life, some teens have mental disorders like depression, anxiety, and stress-related disorders. As a result, they may use drugs or alcohol in an attempt to cope with their symptoms and any other challenges caused by their disorders.
Prevalence of Adolescent Substance Abuse
The most common drugs among youth include alcohol, stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin, marijuana, cocaine, painkillers, prescription drugs, Spike/K2, heroin, crystal meth, ecstasy (MDMA), inhalants, and DXM. To better display the extent of drug use among teens and adolescents, below are some shocking statistics:
- Drug abuse in 8th graders has increased by 61% from 2016 to 2020.
- By 12th grade, an average of 62% of teens have already abused alcohol at some point in their lives.
- 50% of teens have misused drugs at least once in their lives.
- 43% of college students use illicit drugs, including cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.
- 86% of teens know someone who smokes, drinks, or uses drugs during school.
- In 2020, 2.08 million (8.33%) of 12 to 17-year-olds reported last month drug use in the United States.
- Out of the 2.08 million, 83.88% reported using marijuana in the last month.
- By the time they reach 12th grade, 46.6% of teens have already tried illicit drugs.
- 4,777 Americans aged 15 to 24 years old died of an illicit drug overdose in 2020.
- 11.2% of drug overdose deaths are made up of 15 to 24-year-olds.
- In 2020, states with the highest rate of drug use among 12 to 17-year-olds included Vermont (14.6%), Montana (11.6%), Iowa (11.3%), Connecticut (11.2%), Rhode Island (11.0%), and Oregon (10.8%).
How Can We Prevent Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Our Kids?
You can have a huge impact on your child’s decision to engage in substance abuse. They pay more attention to what you say and do than you think. With that being said, it’s important to be mindful of what you say and how you talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol. Our Pompano Beach, Florida drug rehab is sharing a few tips on how we can prevent drug abuse among youth that can help you be there for your kids.
- Educate yourself: Especially if you’ve never experienced the repercussions of drug or alcohol abuse, you may not have a lot of experience under your belt to talk to your kids about. While this is a good thing (because substance abuse is never encouraged), it’s also important to educate yourself about different types of drugs and their long-term effects, so you aren’t giving your kids false information. Teens and adolescents can also tell when you’re lying, or you just aren’t sure, so do your research.
- Be honest: Depending on your child’s age, be clear and honest about substance abuse. If your child is in middle or high school, try your best not to sugarcoat the conversation. Remember, what they don’t learn from you, they’ll learn from someone else who may not have their best interest in mind, so be sure to be transparent.
- Don’t use scare tactics: In a way, this tip ties into the “doing your research” aspect of talking to your kids about drugs and alcohol. It can be tempting to use scare tactics to try and divert them from the topic completely, but this doesn’t always work. Many teens are knowledgeable about certain drugs because they’re exposed to them so often, so don’t lie or exaggerate any points to get yours across.
- Encourage them to ask questions: You want to be sure that you have an open line of communication with your child. This means being willing to listen without interrupting or judging them. In some cases, your child may have already experimented with drugs or alcohol, and you want them to feel comfortable talking to you about these things. By keeping the conversation open, they’ll be more likely to come to you than to go to someone else who may encourage substance abuse.
- Set boundaries: As a parent, it’s important to set rules for your children, especially when it comes to drug abuse. Set clear and concise rules about not using drugs or drinking. Your kids may say, “Well, other kids’ parents let them drink,” or, “My friends do it, and they’re fine.” Stay firm about your rules because they reflect your family’s beliefs and principles.
- Actions speak louder than words. Pay attention to what you say: Your children will always look to you as an example, whether they mean to or not. They will pick up on things that you say or do, especially if it concerns a topic they feel strongly about. So, if you aren’t backing up your statements about drugs and alcohol with your actions, they will hold no merit.
Using drugs at an early age increases the person’s risk of drug and alcohol addiction later in life. What’s more, children of alcoholics or parents addicted to drugs are also at a higher risk of developing these issues themselves when they’re older.
If you or a loved one needs help with drug or alcohol abuse, don’t wait. Call Banyan Treatment Centers Pompano today at 888-280-4763. We offer drug and alcohol treatment for adults ages 18 and older, as well as family therapy for their loved ones. Our addiction specialists can also recommend treatment options if you have a child who’s 17 or younger struggling with addiction.
What Alcohol Does to Your Skin
Are They Drunk or Overdosing on Alcohol?
- NCDAS - Drug Use Among Youth: Facts & Statistics