Are there More Adolescent Drug Addicts Today?

It’s typical to hear about adolescents experimenting with drugs and alcohol. The issue around dabbling in drugs and alcohol is that teenagers can’t understand what they do today can impact their tomorrow.

Paired with a sense of invincibility from any problems life might throw their way, it’s a recipe for potential disaster as it develops into a coping mechanism. This blog discusses the risks associated with adolescent drug use and the steps you can take to seek help to recover.

Current Adolescent Drug Use

Here is a look at some of the current numbers regarding youth drug use in the United States. On average, 1 in 8 youths is said to abuse some illegal substance. Below is a snapshot of national statistics regarding youth drug abuse.

  • 8th graders who used drugs increased by 61% from 2016 to 2020
  • 62% of 12th graders said they had abused alcohol
  • 50% of teenagers used drugs at least once
  • 43% of college students use illicit drugs.
  • Over 86% of teenagers said they knew someone who used drugs or alcohol at school

Overall, teens are using fewer illegal drugs than they have in prior generations. It’s important to note that recovery is possible for anyone, no matter how old or young.

Why Are Teens More at Risk?

Drug addiction is a complicated disease, but it’s that much more risky for teens. Their brains are still developing, and this can put them at higher risk for substance abuse.  

Drugs Can Change Your Teen’s Brain

The National Institute on Drug Abuse states (NIDA), “drugs contain chemicals that tap into the brain’s communication system and disrupt the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information.” The changes experienced from drug use can be much faster for teenagers as their brains are still developing.

Drugs Hurt Brain Development

A teenager’s brain sees a lot of change in a short amount of time; changes to manage self-control, decision-making, and the ability to understand consequences all change rapidly. As this development rolls out, teenagers typically are more impulsive and riskier in their behavior.

When it comes to drug use, teenagers receive immediate gratification, something they continue to seek out. Without understanding the long-term consequences of experimenting with drugs, youth can fall into a life of addiction.

Why Resisting Drugs Is Harder for Teens

The biggest challenge for any teenager’s that their brain hasn’t fully developed, causing them to take risks. It can be almost impossible for many teens to resist trying drugs, and the younger a teen starts using drugs, the more likely they are to have addiction problems.

Getting help from parents, teachers, or doctors to understand why drug abuse can prevent the addiction from becoming long-term.  

Helping Your Teen

Once a teen can understand that their brain is still developing, making them more at risk of substance abuse disorders can help lower the risk of drug experimentation. It’s imperative to find a suitable facility for your teenager’s substance use history and medical needs.  

Aspen rehab of South Florida, just minutes from the beach, has top-of-the-line amenities and round-the-clock medical care so you can recover successfully.

Aspen can Help

Taking the first step into treatment for drugs or alcohol dependence can be scary if done alone. At Aspen rehab of South Florida, we’re experts in addiction recovery. Regardless of your age or background, we can help. Let our team of medical professionals and recovery experts guide you as you begin to learn how to handle the stressors of a sober life.

Aspen rehab of South Florida is here to help you and your teen to a successful recovery. Our team is ready to help you every step of your road to recovery and to help change your life for the better. Contact the team at Aspen Behavioral Health to learn how we can help.


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