How, Why and Where: Adolescent Drug Use and the Need for Teen Treatment Centers

The United States has witnessed an unprecedented drug abuse epidemic over the past decade, and this phenomenon has impacted every level of society. Teens have always been at a high risk for drug addiction, and now it is more important than ever for Americans to realize the need for teen addiction treatment centers.

No parent wants to imagine a child falling into addiction. When it happens, however, it’s vital to approach the situation honestly and constructively. Prevention is the best cure, so understanding some of the trends among teen drug abusers is valuable in preventing this behavior.

If a teen does develop a problem with substance abuse, then treatment within a qualified treatment center is key to long-term recovery.

Teen Drug Use Trends

The teenage years are a time for self-discovery and experimentation, and a time when many people’s identities start to take shape. Teens are generally susceptible to external influences and driven by a need to belong. The typical teenage hormonal turmoil and need for social acceptance are primary factors in teen drug abuse.

Recent research has shown that on an annual basis:

  • Roughly 40% of high school seniors have used some kind of drug.
  • Close to 30% of 10th-grade students have used drugs.
  • 13% of eighth-grade students have experience with at least one controlled substance.
  • Each month, about 35% of all high school students consume alcohol.

Parents may feel shocked by these statistics, but it’s important to realize that teens are naturally curious and often a bit rebellious. Many teens experiment with alcohol and other drugs simply for the thrill of doing something illegal.

Drugs of Choice Among Teens

Drugs of Choice Among Teens - The Treatment CenterStudies conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that alcohol and tobacco are the substances most often abused by American teens, followed by marijuana.

The next most popular drugs vary by age group.:

  • Younger teens tend to favor inhalants while older teens are more likely to try synthetic marijuana or prescription pills.
  • Adderall is a popular choice among high school seniors and new college students, as this drug causes a rush of energy and improves focus, which is tempting for students cramming for exams or trying to study as much as possible.

How Are Teens Getting Drugs?

Thanks to a lack of family awareness and new technology, teens have multiple options for securing drugs:

  • Internet-savvy teens may attempt to purchase drugs online. The “dark web,” or the part of the internet that is unavailable without a specialized browser and some networking know-how, is rife with illegal drug sales.
  • Fake IDs are another tried-and-true method. Fake IDs are more sophisticated today, so it’s harder for ID scanners to discern fakes from real IDs. Regardless, teens can still secure fake IDs with relative ease. Some teens may even use an ID from an older friend or sibling who looks somewhat like them.
  • One of the most common places for teens to find drugs is inside their own homes. Prescription painkillers are among the most dangerous drugs in America, responsible for claiming thousands of lives from overdoses.
  • Many teens have opportunities to steal drugs from their own family members or at friends’ houses. If teen drug abuse is a concern for your family, be sure to dispose of all leftover medications promptly and keep a close eye on the medicine cabinet.

Adolescent Drug Use Habits

Teens decide to try drugs for any number of reasons, including:

  • Pain and stress relief
  • Curiosity
  • Boredom
  • Good feelings and relaxation
  • Feeling a sense of belonging within a group
  • Proving independence

Most teens who engage in drug use typically do so in the company of peers. Although some teens may opt for isolated use, teen drug use is typically a group-oriented experience.

It’s vital to recognize that while every teen faces risks when it comes to substance abuse, some factors may place some teens at a much higher risk of experimenting with drugs:

  • Teens who experience bullying or do poorly in school may explore drugs as a way to escape from these stressors.
  • Overly permissive parenting may cause them to disregard typical teen boundaries and assume they are mature enough to handle drug use. Lax school policies concerning drug use can have similar effects.
  • Older siblings and family members may encourage drug use through exposure, and many teens are convinced drugs are not as dangerous as others assume and explore to satisfy their own curiosity.

The Need for Teen Treatment Centers

Teens who develop addictive behaviors early in life often progress very rapidly in their addiction. The earlier the drug use begins, the higher the risk of it becoming a significant issue for the rest of their lives.

That’s why the need for more teen-specific substance abuse programs is so critical. These programs not only guide teens through detox and addiction treatment, they also educate families on how to create a safe and recovery-focused environment at home.

The Treatment Center has a dedicated facility for teens, so that they can recover in a safe healing environment. Our teen facility near West Palm Beach, Florida features full security and gender-separated living accommodations. If you’re concerned about teen drug abuse in your family and want to learn more about our program, explore our teen treatment program here.