Information on Teens & Illicit Drugs. (n.d.). Retrieved November 01, 2016, from http://www.pamf.org/parenting-teens/drugs-alcohol/drugs/drugs.html
Adolescence is typically a period of experimentation, irrespective of parenting skills and influence
Alcohol and tobacco are the drugs most commonly abused by adolescents, followed by marijuana. The next most popular substances differ between age groups.
Addiction occurs when repeated use of drugs changes how a person’s brain functions over time. The transition from voluntary to compulsive drug use reflects changes in the brain’s natural inhibition and reward centers that keep a person from exerting control over the impulse to use drugs even when there are negative consequences.
Half of all new drug users are under the age of 18. Experimentation plays the biggest role in teenage drug use. However, experimentation is a fact of life and just because a teen has tried drugs or alcohol doesn’t mean they will become an addict. It’s more important to understand why some teens are tempted to experiment.
Young people use drugs for similar reasons:
socialising with friends, peer pressure or the need to feel part of a group
relaxation or fun
curiosity, experimentation or wanting to take risks
to escape from psychological or physiological pain.
While all of these developmental changes can lead teens in a positive direction, they can also lead to drug abuse if a teenager falls in with the wrong crowd, has a difficult home life or is a victim of trauma. Today many teenagers have easy access to drugs and alcohol, and experimenting with chemical substances doesn’t necessarily mean that a teenager will turn into an addict. However, parents should be alert to the possibility that if a teen’s behavior or personality suddenly changes, drugs may be involved.
A friend is using drugs?
*Messy, shows lack of caring for appearance
*Red, flushed cheeks or face
*Track marks on arms or legs (or long sleeves in warm weather to hide marks)
*Burns or soot on fingers or lips (from “joints” or “roaches” burning down)
Personal Habits or Actions:
*Chewing gum or mints to cover up breath
*Heavy use of over-the-counter preparations to reduce eye reddening, nasal irritation, or *bad breath
*Frequently breaks curfew
*Cash flow problems
*Reckless driving, car accidents, or unexplained dents in the car
*Avoiding eye contact
*Going out every night
*Secretive phone calls
*“Munchies” or sudden appetite
Behavioral Issues Associated with Teen Substance Abuse
*Change in relationships with family members or friends
*Loss of inhibitions
*Mood changes or emotional instability
*Loud, obnoxious behavior
*Laughing at nothing
*Unusually clumsy, stumbling, lack of coordination, poor balance
*Sullen, withdrawn, depressed