Addiction Prevention: Teenage Substance UseDylan Romero
It’s no secret that the road to addiction often begins during adolescence. The teenage years are a time of mental and physical changes that can be challenging to cope with for some. What’s more, high school is when many youths begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol.
Using drugs and alcohol is a common occurrence in high school. Peer pressure and the desire to fit in with others put many youths at risk. Every weekend, teens throw parties that often involve the use of mind-altering substances. While most teens do not go on to have alcohol or substance use problems in the future, a significant number of young people do develop an addiction.
It’s worth noting that the younger a person is when they start using is a factor when it comes to developing a use disorder. Research shows that using drugs and alcohol before the brain is fully developed exponentially increases one’s risk of addiction down the road.
Both genetics and one’s environment are factors when it comes to addiction, but there is no way to predict who will fall victim to mental and behavioral health disorders. If you are a teenager and are using drugs and alcohol regularly, then we strongly encourage you to curtail your use immediately.
Drinking and smoking tobacco or marijuana may not seem like a big deal because many of your peers do it too. However, every person develops a different relationship with drugs and alcohol and uses substances for various reasons. Occasional use for letting loose is one thing, but using to cope with emotions and experiences is another thing altogether. Which camp do you fall in?
Many teenagers develop an addiction before they graduate high school. Moreover, some teens even seek treatment and begin their journey of recovery before they can buy cigarettes or alcohol legally.
More Teens are Waiting Longer to Try Drugs and Alcohol
It’s possible to protect yourself from hazardous relationships with drugs and alcohol by choosing to put off use until one is older. More developed brains are better equipped to make healthy decisions regarding when and how often they drink or drug. Knowing the risks and understanding the possible consequences of alcohol and substance use can mitigate the risk of problems in adulthood.
If completely abstaining in high school is best, then waiting longer to try mind-altering substances is next in line. Fortunately, there is evidence that more teens are waiting longer to try drugs and alcohol, HealthDay reports. New research appearing in JAMA Pediatrics shows that fewer teens are initiating alcohol, drug, and tobacco use before their 16th birthday.
A team of researchers from Washington State University analyzed data from the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from 2004 to 2017, according to the article. Lead researcher Karl Alcover and his team found that the age at which teens started drinking and smoking rose from 16 to 17 years. Moreover, the age teens tried heroin went up from 17 to 18, and it increased from 18 to 19 for cocaine use. The scientists did not discern an increase with crack cocaine, methamphetamine, opioids, and some other drugs such as PCP, sedatives, and tranquilizers.
“We think this is great news because delaying initiation of drugs prevents early exposure, which we know is associated with various long-term negative health outcomes,” said Alcover, a postdoctoral research associate at Washington State University. “Also, these promising trends may serve as initial evidence that prevention strategies, especially those that focus on adolescents and young adults, are working.”
Los Angeles-Based Addiction Treatment
Please call 888-978-5424 or email Concise Recovery if you are an adult who suffers from addiction. Our Los Angeles-based treatment center offers several unique programs and services for men and women who are ready to heal from an alcohol or substance use disorder.
At Concise Recovery, our team of addiction professionals utilizes innovative, evidence-based therapies to help you break the cycle of self-destructive and self-defeating behaviors. We offer a full continuum of care from detox to outpatient treatment. Find the healing you deserve today!