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Teenage Drug Use Statistics: Everything to Know

The rise of teenage drug use is increasingly high. Teenagers are dwelling in drug and substance abuse, neglecting their school and social lives. 

The role of parents in teenage drug use is important, as they are the primary caregivers of the children. As children become teenagers, they become difficult and secretive, therefore not allowing parents to guide them as teenagers.

Some parents can opt for more stringent such as taking their kids to a screening test to check whether they have engaged in any drug use. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), has recommended regular screening of teenagers from as young as nine years old. This screening will aim in checking out any consistent substance use, thus preventing the eventuality of further damage. 

The early use of drugs and addictive substances has made young adults and teenagers have destructive behavior, consequently impairing them later in life. Around one in eight teenagers are abusing drugs and using illicit substances since 2020. 50% of teenagers have used drugs and substances at least once in their lives, while 11.2% of deaths by overdose occur in teenagers between fifteen and twenty-four. 

Teenagers who start drinking before the age of fifteen are likely to develop alcohol disorders around seven times more than those who start from the age of eighteen. 

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Statistics on substance use among teenagers

With the above high rates of substance and drug use, teenagers are using a wide range of drugs to sustain their constant need to get high. For instance, marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco accounts for most of the addictive substances teenagers are indulging in. 

Teenagers engage with drugs and substances at an early age due to the constant peer pressure. Around 20% of high schoolteenagers have had an encounter with illicit drugs and substances.  Most high school students use alcohol more than any other drug due to its availability and affordability. 

Peer pressure where students are encouraged to engage in activities that boost their grades or social influence is positive. Peer pressure that however engages them into experimenting with drugs and substances is a hindrance to their progress. The need to engage in these behaviors makes teenagers are facilitated by the need to be socially accepted which prompts them to continue abusing drugs. 

High-performing students who experience a lack of sleep usually turn to drugs for solace and boost their mood and performance. This has escalated the rise of destructive behaviors which influence their social and mental capabilities. 

The need for study aids is also another reason teenagers are engaging in substance abuse. Those with low grades which require constant reading and concentration might opt for stimulants such as Adderall or Ritalin. For instance, around 6.9% of students have abused Adderall with a significant rise noted in ADHD medication. Students believe these substances will make them pass their classes and concentrate more on school work and thus achieve academic excellence. However, continued use of these substances only leads to long-term detrimental effects on the body. 

Alcohol statistics in teenagers

When it comes to alcohol, around two-thirds of students in the twelfth grade have tried alcohol, with one out of six teenagers admitting to having been involved in binge drinking. Alcohol affects the brain capacity of teenagers as their brains and nervous system are still under development. As a result, binge drinking which includes more than five drinks in a row in hours can pose detrimental effects to the brain. 

Underage drinking has also led to serious ramifications in the lives of teenagers, with most of them contracting sexually transmitted diseases due to having unprotected sex, homicide cases on the rise, and suicide rates as a result of excessive binging. 

Marijuana use in teenagers

Marijuana use in teenagers is used by two out of five students atleast once every month. The use of marijuana is on the rise especially after the ongoing myth that doesn’t classify it as a harmful drug. Adolescents who try out marijuana between the ages of twelve and seventeen and young adults of up to twenty-five years of age are reported to have higher addiction disorders.

The early use of marijuana in teenagers leads to underdevelopment of the brain as their IQ remains redundant.Most teens are now vaping marijuana instead of smoking it to keep up with the latest trends. As a result, several teenagers drop out of the educational system hence a decline in career development and education. 

Tobacco use in teenagers

The use of cigarettes has drastically reduced over the years after the advent of electronic cigarettes. E-cigarettes have become a growing fad among teenagers with around 20% of them indulging frequently every month. 

With four out of ten students admitting to having smoked cigarettes by the twelfth grade, teenagers are adopting this fad which eventually harms their respiratory system. Nicotine is highly addictive making tobacco users hooked on it immediately. E-cigarettes have reduced the presence of smokeless cigarettes but also changed the addiction level to preference to them.

Opioid use in teenagers

Opioid use in teenagers has increased by 30% annually since the start of the twenty-first century. Students are more likely to abuse opioids while at school due to the peer pressure associated with them.

Prescribed medicines are also being abused with two out of tenteenagers reported to have abused prescriptions in grade twelve. With the most common being cough syrup which 5% of eighth-grade students have admitted to abusing recently, the addiction rate is rising by the day. 

Tranquilizers and sedatives are also abused with the misconception being that they aren’t as dangerous as illicitdrugs. However, excessive intake of these medications can just be as harmful as the intake of illicit drugs. 

Parental influence

The role of parental influence in the lives of teenagers plays a huge role in reducing their probability of taking drugs. Studies show that teenagers who are educated and advised by their parents about drugs and substance abuse have a 50% less chance of abusing drugs.

Drug and substance abuse increases the likelihood of adult problems like heart disease, respiratory problems, and sleep disorders. Therefore, the earlier the usage, the greater their likelihood of developing these lifestyle diseases later on in life.

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