Is Teenage Drug Use on the Rise?
Teen drug use is going down according to some resources and others state it is going up. It appears as though various intervention initiatives are paying off. Some remaining trends parents need to watch include the trend of teen drug use overall, which, regardless of it going up or down, is still a problem that needs to be addressed. Learn more about teen drug use and its ramifications.
Overall Use Down
The use of drugs overall among teens is trending downward, mainly due to the benefits of prevention initiatives. It is rewarding to notice overall drug use declining even if peers continue to use and it still remains a threat. As parents need to keep the message of anti-drugs on point, the trend downward is not a signal to relax efforts to support teens in learning about the risks and dangers associated with substance use.
Dig a little deeper into the results of the statistics behind teen drug use. Seven of the top most-abused drugs among 8th graders come from a pharmacy department in America. Parents must realize more than half of the drugs teens abuse are likely to include those in a medicine cabinet. The other five drugs are ‘street drugs.’ Many 12th-graders are using street drugs along with pharmaceuticals. Usage patterns differ for this age group but marijuana ranked top for most teens in both categories along with Adderall for 12th graders.
Abuse of ADHD Drugs
Two of seven of the most widely prescribed drugs by doctors for teens include Adderall and Ritalin, powerful and potent ADHD drugs commonly abused by teens. Solving the problem starts in the home and can begin by asking these questions:
Can the teen have access to drugs prescribed?
Are drugs being shared with friends?
Do teens use drugs as prescribed?
Pharmaceutical drug abuse only happens when friends share with friends and peers share with peers. When teens misuse prescription medication, many complications may arise. As parents of teens prescribed pharmaceutical drugs, it is important to speak with a teen to discuss prescription drug use. Monitor teens by not letting the young people have access on a regular basis to pills without counting and tracking use.
Grocery stores have restricted the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) substances which may be used to manufacture methamphetamine. This may lead to a false sense of security around use of OTC drugs but is still a trend that is problematic. One of the most common issues is cough medicine. Many liquid nighttime cough and cold preparations contain nearly the same amount of alcohol by volume as a shot of hard liquor. Dextromethorphan can control a cough but also produces a high when taken in large doses. Teens who are starting to experiment with substance abuse are looking for quick ‘legal fixes’ and resort to ingesting cough syrup to do so.
Talking to teens about drug use can be challenging. If you think your teen is struggling with drug use or addiction, call us to find out how we can help you intervene and provide support.