The teenage years are a time when young people experiment with different hair and clothing styles, as well as attitudes. It's part of growing up and becoming an adult. According to data released by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, many of them also decide to try drugs during these important years as well. Teenage drug abuse in Arizona breaks down as follows:
- 43% of students have used marijuana, compared to 40% nationwide
- 13% have experimented with inhalants, as opposed to 11% in the United States
- 4% admitted to using any form of cocaine (crack, powder or freebase) within the 30 days prior to the survey, compared with 3% in the rest of the country
- 8% had used a pain reliever for a non-medical purpose, which was higher than the national average of 6%
Teenage Brain Development and Drug Abuse
Researchers know that adolescents go through a major wave of brain development between the ages of 13 and their mid-twenties. During this period, teenagers’ brains are going through a complicated process of developing mature thinking processes. Many young people are focused on socializing and abstract thinking, and this makes sense based on what is going on in their brain development.
When drugs are introduced into the mix, they alter a young person's perception of the world. When experimentation becomes drug abuse, it can lead to some serious consequences. What is drug abuse? It can include either illicit drug use or medications (either prescription or over the counter) used other than as directed.
Consequences of Drug Abuse for Young People
Since teens are vulnerable to drug abuse, they may experience these consequences for their involvement:
- Poor academic performance at school - Low grades and multiple absences are two consequences of taking drugs for teens.
- Feeling alienated from friends - Young people who are involved with drugs may spend less time with friends and attending community activities.
- Increased risk of accidental injury - Teens who do drugs are at higher risk of injuries due to car accidents and other types of incidents than young people who are not taking substances.
- Higher risk for depression and other mental health issues - Young people who use drugs are at higher risk for developing mental health disorders. Some users develop personality disorders, conduct issues, experience suicidal thoughts, and attempt or commit suicide after becoming involved with drugs.
Teenage drug abuse is a serious matter that is not a phase a young person will simply grow out of. Addiction requires professional treatment from experts who can provide the right type of treatment. If you are concerned someone you love, call 888-966-9279 today.