Substance abuse in high school is a real problem, although many parents are ignorant about the facts. It can be difficult to accept the truth about teen substance abuse, especially for parents of teens. You may think that your child would never use drugs. She knows better. She gets good grades. She’s an athlete. None of these reasons are good enough to ignore the truth. Many teens are using drugs and your child could be one of them.
How Many High School Students Are Using Drugs?
Alcohol is still the most commonly abused substance among teenagers because it is abundant and easy to get, but also because it seems less dangerous than illegal drugs. Underage drinking is a major problem and most adults realize that teens drink. What many adults are unaware of is the extent to which teens are also abusing drugs. For instance, drug use statistics in teenagers tell us that more than half of all high school seniors have abused some type of drug.
Drug use by high school students increases as they age. More seniors use drugs than freshman, for example. But students are also starting earlier than ever before. In fact, we know that 15 percent of 8th graders have already tried marijuana at least once, and nearly one-third have tried drinking alcohol. While parents may not be as concerned about their teens drinking, they should know that kids who drink are more likely than their peers to try drugs later.
What Drugs Are Teens Abusing?
The variety of drugs that high school students abuse today is astounding and disturbing. While the vast majority of teens use marijuana and stop there, too many are trying more serious and dangerous substances. Forty-three percent of seniors use marijuana, while 8.6 percent of high school seniors have also tried hallucinogens like LSD, ecstasy, ketamine or mescaline. High school students are also using a synthetic version of marijuana, which is more harmful than the real drug. It is impossible to know exactly what chemicals are in these products and they can even be fatal.
Drug abuse in high school also includes prescription drugs. More than half of all high school students have reported using a painkiller not prescribed to them. They get these drugs from friends or family members. A lot of teens also abuse prescription ADHD stimulants. They believe that these drugs can help them study more effectively. Teens are also using harder street drugs, but in smaller numbers. Some teens try cocaine, crack or heroin.
Be Aware Of Changes In Your Teen And Talk To Them About Drugs
Teen drug abuse is a serious problem and naive parents too often overlook it. Never assume that your child couldn’t possibly be a drug user. This attitude may cause you to ignore an obvious problem. If your teen is abusing drugs, catching it early gives you the best chance to help. Be aware of changes going on in your teen and be prepared to accept drug use as a possibility. It could just save your child’s life.
Learn More About Teenage Substance Abuse – Including How Many Teenagers Need Substance Abuse Treatment