Are you concerned that your teen might be abusing drugs? Perhaps you’re curious to what percentage of teens try and abuse drugs?
In studies there seems to be a clear correlation between age and drug use. Youths aged between 12 and 17 abused drugs the most, with reports suggesting that 60.6% were dependent on or abused drugs. This is significantly higher than any other age group: young adults between the ages of 18 through to 25 only reported abuse rates of 37.4%. Adults aged 26 or older reported that only 24.3% abused or were dependent on drugs. This demonstrates that teenagers are in the most “at risk” age group for drug dependency and use. With this in mind, it’s important that parents are aware of the vulnerability of their teens and act accordingly.
One of the most interesting substance abuse charts and graphs that is relevant to teenagers is this graph about gateway drugs – that is the drug that teens are most likely to try first. This graph shows that a large majority (56.6%) of teenagers will first try marijuana. Almost a quarter (22.5%) will try painkillers first, using them other than how was intended. Following on, inhalants (9.7%), tranquilizers (3.2%), hallucinogens (3.2%), stimulants (3.0%), cocaine (0.8%), sedatives (0.8%), heroin (0.1%) are common gateway drugs.
Most Frequently Abused Drugs
Marijuana was the most commonly abused drug, followed by pain relievers and cocaine. In 2008 there were a recorded 7.0 million persons aged 12 years or older that were dependent or addicted to illicit drugs. Marijuana was the drug of choice for over half of the addicts, with 4.2 million people dependent on or abusing marijuana.
Are Interventions Necessary?
Part of the problem with drug use or abuse, especially in teens, is that the user simply does not see their drug use as a problem. As such, they consistently are in denial about the effects that their drug use has on various aspects of their lives. This makes it harder to demonstrate the need for them to stop or minimize their drug use, because they’re simply not aware of the negative consequences. Because teens are such a vulnerable age, it’s really important that parents keep an eye on their teen’s health and look out for any noticeable differences. An intervention might be necessary and is often used as a last resort when a teen’s drug use simply goes too far.
Have you dealt with a teen who was suffering from a drug addition? What did you do to get through it?