The fact that drug use is common among teenagers is undeniable. By late adolescence, a recent study showed that as many as 78 percent of teens have abused alcohol and over 40 percent have used other drugs. Although these statistics are daunting, millions of teens are not using drugs. Which group does your teen belong to? How can you know?
Addiction has no single cause, but rather often results from a number of biological, social and psychological risk factors. Here are 5 risk factors for teen drug addiction: This information was originally reported in the huffingtonpost.com.
We are like those we associate with. Friends who do not use drugs rarely hang out with those who do. Likewise, if you hang around those who drink and do drugs, the odds are you do, or will do it too.
Peer pressure is a strong factor in the initiation of teen drug use. Teens that have friends that use marijuana or other drugs are at nearly three times the risk of becoming regular marijuana users themselves.
One of the saddest factors leading to increased likelihood for drug use is early childhood abuse, neglect and other forms of trauma. Adverse childhood experiences can include emotional, physical and sexual abuse, neglect, having a mentally ill or addicted parent, losing a parent to death or divorce, living with domestic violence and having one or both parents in prison.
Perception is Reality
A teen who believes that drugs and alcohol aren't very harmful or that their parents approve of their drug use is far more likely to become addicted to drugs. Prescription drug abuse has been rising among teens, and they often believe these drugs are inherently safe because doctors prescribe them. Most teens get prescription drugs from the medicine cabinet in their home or the homes of friends.
Celebrity and other role models who use drugs also is an encouraging factor is teen drug abuse.
The stress and pressure of middle and high school are extreme. Teenagers who struggle in school are more likely to become involved with drugs or alcohol, particularly if their academic difficulties begin as early as elementary school. Warning signs include having a learning disability, poor grades, skipping school, low motivation and poor bonding with classmates and teachers.
We all are products of our environment. While drugs are so pervasive across all ranges of society, there are places where they are so prevalent they increase the likelihood teens will try and eventually become addicted to drugs.
Living in a low-income community or one where drugs are easily accessible and alternative activities, such as parks, community centers and sports programs are unavailable has been associated with higher levels of drug use.
If you or someone you care about may need a drug class I urge you to seek help immediately. If you prefer to maintain anonymity there are online drug classes for teens too.