Drug abuse in teenagers has increased significantly in the last few years. Along with this have come increases in emergency department visits related to misuse of prescription drugs and in the number of overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers. The later have more than quadrupled since 1999 and now outnumber those from heroin and cocaine combined. [Trust for America’s Health, Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic, 2013]
Causes of teenage drug abuse
Of all things, curiosity is seen as one of the primary causes of teen drug abuse. Many times a curious teen will try a drug that he gets from a friend or even from his parents medicine cabinet, just to see what the effect is. If the effect is perhaps euphoric, the teen may go on and try again and again until he forms and addiction.
Teens experience a trememdous amount of peer pressure. Studies of teenage drug abuse show that most teens try a drug when prompted to do so by a friend. The teen often thinks that if she does not bend to this demand, that she risks losing her friends and been seen as unfit for the group.
Toying with drugs can be seen as a form of amusement. When a group of teenagers get together, they start to look for something to occupy their time and have fun. Unfortunately, they often see the use of drugs as fun, so the root cause is boredom.
Teenagers need to be taught about these perils: everything may appear to be quite innocent and harmless, but the teenager must be on guard against these social issues.
Consequences of teenage drug abuse
One of the first things an observant parent may notice is a drop in grades. If this is not changed around quickly, the teen can see his or her academic life become a struggle. Usually the reason for the drop in performance is that the teen takes a rather lackadaisical attitude, not caring or taking the responsibility.
There can be changes in attitude – a teen may become arrogant or even show a tendency toward violent actions. This may cause them to get into fights at home as well as outside the home.
The user’s physical health can begin to falter. Most illicit drugs and even prescription drugs when abused can have a powerful effect on certain organs, causing illness and even death.
Drug use can also cause mental and emotional problems. Some of these problems are treatable, others are lifelong. A teenager who habitually abuses drugs may find himself on the wrong side of the law, spending more and more time in court and in jail.