Numerous studies indicate an alarming trend of drug abuse increasing amongst younger and younger individuals. Some social issues amongst teenagers have been decreasing and improving. However, drug and alcohol abuse remains prevalent and hard to control.
• Teenagers are most likely to use alcohol, marijuana, or cigarettes.
• Approximately two-thirds of kids had tasted alcohol by the 12th grade.
• Approximately half of the students in grades 9 through 12 reported having smoked marijuana at some point.
• Approximately one in every ten ninth through twelfth school students reported having tried cigarettes.
• Nearly one-quarter of 12th students reported consuming prescription medication without a prescription.
Although it is illegal for anyone under 21 to consume alcohol, statistics show that people aged 12 to 20 consume almost one-tenth of all alcohol consumed in the United States. The younger kids begin using substances, the more likely they will continue using substances and develop substance use issues later in life. When teenagers start drinking at a young age, they increase their chances of being addicted to or abusing drugs later.
More teens are using drugs than ever before. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 23 percent of American high school seniors used illicit drugs in 2015. As a parent, you want to ensure your kids are not among them.
The younger kids begin using substances, the more likely they will continue using substances and develop substance use issues later in life. For example, when teenagers start drinking at a young age, they increase their chances of being addicted to or abusing drugs later.
What are some signs that your teen may be using drugs?
Changes in behavior: If your teenager suddenly starts acting differently or becomes withdrawn from family activities, it could signify that something is going on with them. Your child may also seem moody, depressed, or anxious without reason for those feelings. Kids who abuse drugs may also start spending more time alone or out with friends at all hours of the night and day when they previously were home after school each day.
Red flags include:
• Changes in sleep patterns (sleeping all day and staying up all night)
• Weight loss or gain (especially if accompanied by marijuana use)
• Changes in eating habits (eating less or skipping meals)
• The smell of marijuana, alcohol, or heroin lingering on their clothes
• Constantly asking for money
• Change in friend groups
• Lacks motivation for extracurricular activities
• Drop in grades and school work productivity
• Poor hygiene
• Avoids eye contact or eyes are glazy
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to talk with your teenager about drugs and alcohol.
By starting conversations early and often, you can help ensure that your kids avoid or delay risky behaviors. For example, if you talk about the risks of using drugs, including tobacco and alcohol, when your kids are young, they will be more likely to abstain from using them later in life.
The younger kids begin using substances, the more likely they are to continue using substances and develop substance use issues later in life. When teenagers start drinking at a young age, they increase their chances of being addicted to or abusing drugs later in life.
Many parents don’t realize how important it is to have these conversations with their children. A recent study showed that only about one-third of parents feel very confident discussing drugs and alcohol with their teens. In contrast, 71 percent of teens say they wouldn’t hesitate to ask their parents questions about this topic if they needed help or advice.
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