Drug addiction among teenagers is far higher than in any other age group and can cause dangerous, long-term effects, including brain damage and death. In addition, the type of drugs being abused is changing.
What ages are using?
Older teens between the ages of 18 and 25 are more than twice as likely - 19.6 percent of them - to abuse drugs and become addicted than teenagers who are between 12 and 17. The percentage of teens in this age bracket using drugs is 9.3 percent.
What kinds of drugs they use?
Marijuana is the most common illicit drug and is likely to lead to drug addiction among teenagers. From there, teens will also go on to the harder drugs like ecstasy, cocaine, hallucinogens and methamphetamines.
Teenagers will also abuse prescription medications and over the counter drugs that have the chemical Dextromethorphan (DXM). DXM is found in more than 120 non-prescription cough and cold medications, including Vicks Formula 44, Nyquil and Robitussin.
Younger teens will also get a high from inhalants such as glue, solvents or paints.
How do they get involved with drugs?
One of the main causes of teenage drug addiction is permissive parenting. Parents who try to be friends with their children rather than parents, who fail to say no, and who indulge their child's every whim will raise children with very little self discipline and even less self-esteem.
Children need discipline and parents who set boundaries.
Another way teenagers get involved with drugs is by spending time with other teens in unsupervised situations. Make sure you know where your child is going and who else will be there. Get involved in your child’s life and ask the tough questions.
And finally, another way teenagers will get into drugs is if they see their parents using drugs in social situations or as a way to cope with difficult situations.
How Dangerous is It?
Marijuana is considered the gateway drug because it can lead to drug addiction among teenagers of far more dangerous drugs. In addition, marijuana smoked over the long term can cause lung damage. Long-term use of marijuana alters the brain and the way it works.
Using inhalants is just as addictive as the harder drugs such as cocaine or heroin. Even one use of inhalants can be lethal.
Abusing over the counter medications can cause seizures, brain damage or even death.
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