Did you know that half of all new drug users are under the age of 18? Curiosity and experimentation play a big role in teenage drug use. Many life-long addictions begin in the teenage years and can result in long-term consequences. Some drugs are more commonly abused than others in this demographic though.
Alcohol is by far the most commonly abused drug by teenagers. It’s widely available, socially acceptable among adults, and many teens view alcohol as harmless. Research shows that teenagers are more likely to binge drink due to impulse control not fully developing in the brain yet. This poses risks regarding drinking that doesn’t exist in adults. Binge drinking increases the risk of addiction, and the teenage brain is more susceptible to addiction.
Like alcohol, teens don’t perceive marijuana as having many risks. While marijuana does have medicinal properties, and it is on the path towards legalization, teens are at risk if they abuse it. More than 20% of teens report using marijuana at least one in the past month. Regular marijuana users often start during adolescence, and some view marijuana as a gateway drug to harder substances.
Prescription pill addictions are tough because they usually start from legitimate means. Teens are prescribed pills after an accident or injury and then becoming addicted. Prescription pills such as OxyCotin and Xanax has intoxicating effects, and teens seek these out. These pills are highly addictive and have the risk of overdose. They don’t just take their own prescriptions though. Nearly 40% of teens who abuse prescription meds obtain the drugs from their parents’ medicine cabinets. Parents should remember to lock up and keep hidden any prescription pills.
Addiction that begins in adolescents can have life long consequences. Teenagers can’t perceive the risks that these drugs have. Their brains aren’t fully developed which not only make them more prone to poor judgment but also more prone to addiction.