The Real Facts about Teens and Drugs
Teenagers in the U.S. are using and abusing drugs at rates that are alarming to many adults. Teenagers have always experimented with drugs, but there are so many risks and dangers associated with doing so that parents and other adults need to be aware of the facts. Teen drug abuse facts may seem shocking to those unaware of the issue, but they are real and must be faced to begin to understand the problem.
Which Drugs Are Teens Abusing?
The variety of drugs that teens have access to these days is staggering. While teens may always have been willing to experiment with mind-altering substances, the types of drugs available in previous decades were more limited. Today, kids have access to so much more. Further increasing the dangers, drug makers and dealers have gotten more creative and less scrupulous and what they sell is not always a pure substance.
Stats on drug use show that today teens are mostly using marijuana when it comes to illegal substances. More have experimented with alcohol, but among drugs, pot rules. According to measured statistics, nearly half of all high school seniors have used it. That abuse starts even earlier with 15 percent of 8th graders having tried marijuana at least once. Synthetic marijuana is a drug of choice for over 10 percent of high school students, while just less than 10 percent have used hallucinogens like LSD. Ecstasy is also popular, while cocaine, crack and heroin are the least commonly used drugs among teenagers.
Do Teens Abuse Prescription Drugs?
A newer and worsening issue is the abuse of prescription medications by people of all ages, including teens. Stats on drug abuse indicate that ADHD medications are popular with students. These drugs are used as study aids to help students stay awake and focused. Prescription painkillers are another big problem. These narcotics are readily prescribed for pain and are easy for many teens to access. They are dangerous because of side effects, their addictive properties, and because of the potential for overdose. In fact, more teens have died from taking prescriptions than from using cocaine and heroin combined.
Where Do Teens Get Drugs?
Drug and alcohol statistics are helpful in showing us how teens are gaining access to both illegal and controlled substances. Most students can find a variety of drugs right in their own schools. More than 60 percent of teens report that they know of drugs being kept and used at their schools. More than 60 percent say that they can get prescription drugs from a friend or a family member. Prescription drugs have become so popular over the last decade because they are easy to access. Teens and adults alike are prescribed ADHD medications and painkillers, making these drugs widely available.
While the facts about teen drug abuse are alarming and unsettling, it is important to be aware. Adults, and parents in particular, should know what is going on with teens and drugs. If you are the parent of a teen or pre-teen, have a talk about the dangers and risks associated with abusing drugs to prevent future harm.
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