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Drug And Alcohol Use in Adolescents

Nearly 70 percent of high school seniors have tried alcohol, 50 percent have taken an illegal drug and more than 20 percent have used a prescription drug for a non-medical reason. Research has found most people start misusing drugs and alcohol during this time. Learn more about adolescent substance abuse, and why teen drug abuse and teen alcohol abuse can lead to issues down the road.

Why is Adolescent Substance Abuse a Trend?

  • Social environment
    • Teens are more likely to try drugs and alcohol if their friends are also using.
  • Accessibility of drugs
    • Adolescents are at an increased risk of trying substances if they have easy access to them.
  • Family environment
    • Violence, abuse, mental health illnesses and drug use in the household all increase the likelihood an adolescent will experiment with drugs and alcohol.

Compared to adults, adolescents are much more likely to hide their substance use from loved ones. They are also less likely to show signs of teen drug abuse because they have a shorter history of use. However, there are still red flags.

What are the Signs of Teen Drug Abuse or Alcohol Abuse?

  • Loss of interest in school and hobbies
  • Suddenly needing more money and an unwillingness to explain spending habits
  • Withdrawal from family and friends, and an increased desire to be alone
  • Change in friends
  • Change in behavior or personality
  • Unresponsiveness to communication
  • Frequent rule-breaking, especially of curfew

While most adolescents who try drugs and alcohol do not have substance use disorders, the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder is greater for people who begin using in their early teens. According to a study, 15.2 percent of people who start drinking by age 14 develop substance use disorders, compared to 2.1 percent of those who wait until they are 21 or older.

What are the Effects of Adolescent Substance Abuse?

  • Difficulties with schoolwork
  • Relationship problems
  • Loss of interest in normal healthy activities
  • Impaired memory and thinking ability
  • Increased risk of contracting an infectious disease
  • Mental health problems—including substance use disorders
  • Increased possibility of partaking in unsafe sexual activities
  • Overdose
  • Death

The key to the battle against adolescent addiction is time. Therefore, we need to involve adolescents in professional addiction treatment programs as soon as possible. Moreover, adolescents are less likely to seek out help on their own, so it is crucial loved ones help them into treatment.

How Gateway Can Help

With numerous drug and alcohol rehab centers in Illinois, Gateway is here to help teens and adolescents stop abusing dangerous substances. All our adolescent treatment programs are now held virtually, so online outpatient treatment is available for young people everywhere. Learn more about our virtual outpatient treatment program and how it can be the best treatment option for your teen. For questions about a teenage rehabilitation center near you, contact us today.

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