Adolescents & Substance Abuse

It’s anything but simple to deal with substance abuse in your life or your child’s life. The helpless feeling of addiction that leaves you lying awake at night can be close to paralyzing. You are not alone. There is good news, however, recent 2016 studies show that alcohol, cigarettes, and illicit drug use by 12th graders nationwide have decreased significantly over the past five years. This means that, although numbers are headed in the right direction, it is our responsibility to make sure they remain low for the greater good.

Prevalence of Drug Use Among Adolescents

A Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey about substance abuse among 12th graders done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse includes the following substances. Those living with children and young adults should consider whether they have these substances in their home.

“heroin, synthetic cannabinoids, Vicodin®, methamphetamine, amphetamines, inhalants, Ecstasy, alcohol, and cigarettes, among all ages surveyed; hallucinogens, Ritalin®, OxyContin®, bath salts, and over-the-counter cough medicines among 8th and 10th graders; cocaine among 8th and 12th graders; and prescription pain relievers (narcotics other than heroin), sedatives, and crystal methamphetamine in 12th graders (the only grade sampled for these substances).”

Statistics covering substance abuse among 12th graders derived from the study are presented below. Although alarming, these numbers are actually in decline as compared to previous years.

  • Alcohol use among adolescents is at 58.2%
  • Marijuana/Hash use among adolescents is at 38.5%
  • Amphetamine use among adolescents is at 7.7%
  • Narcotics (other than heroin) use among adolescents is at 5.4%
  • Cough Medicine use among adolescents is at 4.6%
  • Vicodin® use among adolescents is at 4.4%
  • OxyContin® use among adolescents is at 7%
  • MDMA (Ecstasy) use among adolescents is at 3.6%
  • LSD use among adolescents is at 9%
  • Cocaine use among adolescents is at 2.5%

Dangers of Drug Abuse

The side effects of drug use are dangerous and are oftentimes fatal. Loss of concentration, poor performance in school, and antisocial behaviors are indications that there is a drug problem, and these incidents should be addressed immediately. Loss of interest in hobbies and friends is also an indicator of addiction, coupled with obsession for the substance and doing anything in one’s power to get more of it. Loss of values and family connection can drive an individual down a dark and lonely path. The worst cases result in death from overdose on the substance or an associated health issue.

Prevention, Treatment and Therapy

There are many factors and key strategies to help kids stay drug free. Strong support systems and building and maintaining positive connections will begin to establish or reestablish stability. Extracurricular activities and after school hobbies combined with encouragement from adults in the family and in the community, can go a long way to help set your child on a healthy path. If you are deeper down the rabbit hole and need to explore more direct options for recovery from addiction, a center such as Advantage Mental Health Center offers services that combat addiction with professional staff and flexible schedules. Medically-assisted treatment is highly recommended, which includes both medication and counseling to guide you through the process. In order to have a successful recovery, it is important to treat the whole individual through individual counseling sessions and tailored medication plans. Get help today, schedule your appointment.