Anyone can start abusing drugs and suffer the consequences, but teens are particularly vulnerable. They are naturally hard-wired to take risks and to make choices based on fitting in with their peers. While these are normal parts of growing up, when it comes to drugs, the repercussions of making a bad choice can be severe and long lasting. Drug abuse facts are important for teens to see so that they can understand the importance of making better choices and staying safe.
How Many Teens Are Using Drugs?
It is important when teens learn the drug abuse facts and statistics that they recognize there are plenty of teens not using drugs. It can sometimes seem like something everyone is doing, and although the numbers are high for some substances, most teens still choose to say no to drugs.
For instance, statistics tell us that nearly half of all high school seniors have at least tried one type of drug one time. That is a lot and it presents a problem, but it still tells us that half of all seniors have never used drugs.
Statistics also demonstrate that some drug use starts early. By the 8th grade, 15 percent of students have at least tried smoking pot. Marijuana and alcohol are the most commonly abused substances among teens, but they aren’t the only ones. More than half of teens have tried using someone else’s prescription medication. Nearly 9 percent of seniors have experimented with hallucinogenic drugs.
Why Are Drugs Harmful?
Drug use in high school can lead to serious consequences. Even drugs that seem low-risk or safe, like prescriptions or marijuana, really are not. More teenagers die from overdosing on a prescription drug than from taking heroin and cocaine. Marijuana has impacts on the still-developing teenage brain that are not yet fully understood.
Perhaps one of the most harmful impacts of drug use by teens is the incidence of accidents and poor decisions. In using drugs, teens tend to lose their inhibitions and their abilities to make good choices. Drug use can lead to assaults, unintended pregnancies and injuries caused by accidents had while impaired. Furthermore, drug use is known to lower a student’s academic performance, which can threaten a teen’s future.
How Does Someone Get Addicted?
Teens using drugs in high school also put themselves at risk for becoming addicted. Some of the most commonly abused substances, like prescription painkillers, are highly addictive. Drugs produce a pleasant sensation in the brain and in the body, which can lure a teen into using them again and again. Over time, changes in the brain make it more and more difficult to stop using and this can quickly lead to addiction.
Facts about drug abuse are frightening, but it is important that teens are aware of them. Being educated is the best defense against making bad decisions that lead to negative consequences. If you are the parent of a teen or pre-teen, have a talk with your children about drugs and drug abuse. Give them the important facts.
Learn More About Our Teen Drug Abuse Facts And Stats!