Teen drug use may be going down, according to a recent survey. American children in 8th, 10th and 12th grade were asked about drug, alcohol and tobacco use including attitudes towards the substances. Learn more about recent trends in teenage drug use and what to look for if a loved one may be at risk.
Prevention initiatives appear to be working for parents who were raised with the message of “Don’t Do Drugs.” Overall drug use appears to be dropping in children of those adults even if pressure to use is still as big a threat as ever. The message needs to be continually impressed upon young people as the pressure to use drugs is not ceasing, nor should a parent’s attempts to thwart those who offer drugs to teens.
What Parents Should Know
More than half of the drugs teens are likely to abuse are known as ‘street drugs.’ Seven pharmaceuticals and five street drugs are on the list, with marijuana as one of the top most used drugs. Eighth graders used while 12th graders also abused Adderall.
Adderall and Ritalin are commonly prescribed drugs for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with the drugs also abused more commonly by teenagers. Solving the problem of teen prescription drug use starts within individual homes. Some questions to consider if a teen is living at home:
- Does teen have free access to drugs if prescribed?
- Does teen share with friends?
- Does drug use follow prescription guidelines?
Abuse of prescription drugs by teens can only occur when the teen misuses the prescription, shares with friends or buys stolen property to use or resell. As parents, it is imperative to know who has been prescribed medication and to discuss the issue with a teen regularly. Having a family plan for monitoring use may include counting pills to be sure none are missing.
Grocery stores have restricted the sale of over-the-counter substances which can be used to manufacture methamphetamine. Cough medicine such as liquid nighttime cough and cold preparations contain nearly the same amount of alcohol by volume as a shot of hard liquor. Dextromethorphan can produce a high when taken in large doses. Teens who are looking to experiment may try this ‘legal fix’ before resorting to other drugs.
Parents who are diligent about monitoring a teen’s behavior are likely to catch an issue before it becomes a larger problem. If drug use is suspected, follow up. Educate teens on the harmful effects of substance abuse and be willing to take action if a teen shows signs of drug use.
The Villa provides treatment and support for teens who struggle with addiction. Call us to find out how we can help your loved one get on the track to recovery.