Whether you’re the parent of a teenager who is using drugs or a teen struggling with the urge to use, it’s important that you know the serious dangers of substance abuse, especially when it occurs at a young age.
Below are staggering statistics regarding teen drug and alcohol abuse in the United States:
- 50 percent of high school seniors surveyed admit to having abused a drug of some kind
- 15 percent of 8th graders admit to having used marijuana
- 8.6 percent of high school seniors say they have tried hallucinogens, 4 percent of those say they used LSD
- 64 percent of teenagers surveyed admit to using prescription medication from someone they know
- Alcohol is the leading factor in the top 3 causes for death in 15-24 year olds, which are auto crashes, homicides and suicides
- By 8th grade almost 30 percent of children have tried drinking alcohol
- 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States is from underage drinkers
- 60 percent of the same teens surveyed report drugs of some kind being available from others at school
Treatment for Teens
It is estimated that two million children ages 12 to 17 have used drugs or alcohol and need treatment for an addiction; however, only a mere 150,000 get help. Oftentimes teens don’t seek help because they’re scared to admit the drug use to their parents, which increases the likelihood of long-term abuse.
It is reported that 50 percent of all teens who develop drug or alcohol addictions have an additional psychiatric condition, also called co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis. If a child is using, he or she should undergo an evaluation by a psychiatric professional, as recovery could be hindered by undiagnosed mental health issues.
How Teen Addiction Affects Parents
When a parent or other parental figure openly discusses drug and alcohol abuse with their children, the risk of substance abuse is decreased by 42 percent.
Parents tend to blame themselves for their children’s addictions; however, openly blaming oneself or a spouse is additionally dangerous, as your teenage son or daughter may stop taking responsibility for his or her actions. Blaming oneself only worsens the problem, as feelings of guilt can cloud judgement and lead to a parent enabling their child’s addiction or addictive behavior.
It’s typical for a teen who is using drugs or alcohol to grow distant from their parents, but addiction specialists say that those are the times when pulling the family closer is most important.
Reminder to teens: If you have used drugs and feel like you may be developing an addiction, reaching out for help can seem impossible. Just know that developing an addiction doesn’t make you a bad person. If you’re worried about how your parents will react, remember that they will be proud of you for coming to them for help before the addiction caused you severe damage.
Reminder to parents: If your teen admits a substance abuse problem, it’s natural to be upset; however, remind yourself to react with understanding and support. Your child has trusted you, so be thankful that they admitted their problem before it was too late.
If you’re worried that you, your teen, or someone else you love is suffering from addiction, Canyon Vista Recovery Center is available to answer questions and offer advice. We are committed to helping people discover their path to recovery.