No responsible parent would ever want their teen to be misusing drugs, even ones that are considered relatively safe, like alcohol or cannabis. Regardless, teen drug use is a very real problem and a cause of concern for parents the world over. Teenagers, after all, are at the stage in their lives where they are trying to figure out who they really are. This means that they are experimenting in all areas of their life and exploring the world on their own.
For many teens, this also means experimentation with drugs and/or alcohol. Because teen drug use is a common issue, parents need to know some critical facts about adolescent drug use. That way, parents can better understand the environment their child may find themselves in, helping them to better relate to and protect them, if necessary.
If your teen is regularly using drugs, be sure to contact a qualified professional to help them with their recovery. Get in touch with our team to find a teen rehab center in Dallas.
This was a finding by the 2019 Region 3 survey of North Texas substance use trends by The Prevention Resource Center Region 3 (PRC 3), a program of Recovery Resource Council funded by the Texas Health and Humans Services Commission. The survey covered North Texas youth clinically diagnosed with a substance use disorder (SUD) between 2016 and 2018. While marijuana and cannabis have been the most misused controlled substances for decades, benzodiazepines, a class of sedatives that includes medications such as Valium, Klonopin, and similar drugs are starting to become a growing concern.
The non-medically recommended use of any substance is classified as misuse, making alcohol by far the most misused drug among teens. In 2015, 35.3 percent of American teens in senior high had reported recently using alcohol while 21.5 percent of sophomores reported the same. These numbers are down from years past, but still represent the largest teen drug use issue and can have serious impacts on their life, current, and future.
About 9 in 10 adults with a substance use disorder start taking drugs in their teens. While we still have plenty to learn about how drugs affect the human brain, the fact that adolescent brains are still growing may make them more vulnerable to developing disrupted reward pathways that lead to a lifelong compulsion to find and use drugs. Considering the lifelong mental and physical health effects of a substance use disorder, this is a big deal to many parents, to say the least.
Teens that misuse drugs may have health and developmental issues. Unlike adults, teenagers’ brains and bodies are still developing. Because of that, drug and alcohol abuse can seriously impact or even stop that development. This means a drug user’s mental state and capacity are often stunted at the point at which they began to misuse substances. As such, if your 13-year-old starts heavy drinking or smoking a lot of cannabis, their emotional and intellectual development may slow down or even stop at that age.
Given these facts about teen drug use— particularly those related to the lifelong effects of drug abuse on teens — parents need to be fully aware of the potential harm even seemingly innocent drug use can have.
While you may not be able to completely control everything your child does, you can help educate them and watch out for signs that they are misusing drugs and alcohol. By maintaining open communication and relaying these facts to your children, you may be able to prevent them from becoming a part of these unsettling teenage drug use statistics.
If you live in or around the Dallas metro, help for you, your child, or another loved one is never far away. Call us to find professional help as well as the best recovery programs for your teen.