Teen Drug Use

Are Teens In The Norm With Substance Abuse?



There are many teenagers today that are involved in some sort of substance or drug abuse. It may start with seeing it on TV or being with a group of friends, and trying it to seem "cool". What most teens today don't know is that there is always a down side to those kind of actions like, addiction or dropping out of school. Even though it is common to be a young adult who is into drugs, it should still be taken seriously. Teenagers should not be experimenting with drugs. Schools and parents should be able to teach students and their kids the down side and effects of being involved with drug or alcohol.


As the years go by more and more adolescents, age 12-17-year-olds, experimenting with substances such as drugs and alcohol. Today more than ever, there are teenagers falling into addictions or dropping out of school because, of these substance abuses. Teens may think it's acceptable to experiment, due to it being a "norm" in our society today. Teenagers today should not think it reasonable to experiment with different substances.


In starting my research, I went through various articles of adolescent drug use. There were many interesting facts about the subject, in the CGCC Database. Most of the results found were from online sources. From the Database there were plenty of articles from both online or newspapers that was given as an option to read through.


There are may assumptions that teenagers are trying drugs because of peer pressure. In an article, it states"The 2008-2009 State of Our Nation's Youth survey found that, contrary to popular belief, most teenagers are not pressured to use drugs. Instead, teenage drug use seems to mirror modern American drug-taking tendencies," (Rosenbaum). This could be true due to a lot of young teenagers having the need to be someone or become accepted. There would not be anyone telling tem they have to take what ever substance it is, but rather them just asking for what they think is in. Maybe some of the teenagers saw it on a TV show, or a movie, and thought the actors reaction to the drugs or alcohol seemed interesting enough to try it. Later on in that same article, "Some psychologists argue that given the nature of our culture, teenage experimentation with legal and illegal mind-altering substances should not be considered abnormal or deviant behavior...."(Rosenbaurm). Psychologist think it is a "natural behavior" because today's society just turns their head and pretend it doesn't happen.Though Some teenagers don't always end up being dependent on drugs or alcohol, even if it's first try of the substance can always trigger an addiction.

Even is a person tries drugs once, there is always a possibility for a teenager to want to keep doing the drug or to experiment with more dangerous substances. In an article found, it sates, "Among high school seniors, Ecstasy use has more than doubled in the last six years to 12 percent making it the latest fad drug among young people, who often take it at all-night dance parties known as “raves” (Masci 2002). In the early 2000's the rate of teenagers taking, stronger drugs increased and it has increased slowly over the years.

"Twelfth grade aged youths who had dropped out of school were more likely than similarly aged youths who were still in school to engage in current cigarette use, alcohol use, binge alcohol use, marijuana use, nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs, and use of any illicit drugs." ("Substance Use"). There are many students today that are dropping out of school due to there abuse of drugs. Knowing that each year the rate of dropout students increases, may not always be about the substances, is showing students that it is common action to do is not correct. Every teen has a choice to weather they want to do good in school or do drugs and be dependent on it and dropout.

First Specific Drug Associated with Initiation of Illicit Drug Use among Past Year Illicit Drug Initiates Aged 12 or Older: 2013

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There are teenagers who end up having to drop out or become depressed because, of their dependency on substances. Some parents don't even know that their teens are doing drugs or drinking alcohol. Some teens are even reported taking their drugs from medicine cabinets or from friend's homes. Knowing personally that drugs affect the way teen's emotions are, some of my previous high school classmates wouldn't even show up to school some days, or they completely dropped out of school. There are many rehab facilities today that can help young adults, but that is only if they want the help. There are teachers at school willing to help students out of bad situations, as well as parents at home, but there are always signs that need to be recognized.

According to,Partnership for DrugFree Kids ("Is your teen using?") signs may include:

  • Poor Hygiene
  • Burns or soot on fingers or lips
  • Cash flow problems
  • Locked doors
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Change in appetite
  • Frequent mood changes
  • Obnoxious behavior
  • Periods of sleeplessness
  • Loss of interest in school or activities
  • Skin abrasions/bruises
  • frequent sickness

Substance Use among 12th Grade Aged Youths, by Dropout Status: 2002 to 2010

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Though there are many programs today that help prevent students from experimenting with drugs, like Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) there should be more effective programs. Knowing that the program has slowly been drifted away from schools, there should be someone teaching students today not just about "how bad they are", but what consequences anyone can face. Show documentaries of real life situations and people and their stories, to direct them away from even trying them once. Parents should also be open with their children and answer any questions teens may have or any problems at school they also may be having. Obviously, there will be some students still interested in the drugs and alcohol, but as long as the numbers keep decreasing over time, there will be a positive outcome.


Works Cited

  • "Is Your Teen Using? Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse." Partnership for DrugFree Kids. SAG-AFTRA, 05 Feb. 2015. Web.

  • Masci, D. (2002, March 15). Preventing teen drug use. CQ Researcher, 12, 217-241. Retrieved from http://library.cqpress.com/

  • "Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings." Results from the 2013 NSDUH: Summary of National Findings, SAMHSA, CBHSQ. SAMHSA, Sept. 2014. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.
  • Rosenbaum, Marsha. "Reality-Based School Programs Help Prevent Teen Drug Use." Safety First: A Reality-Based Approach to Teens and Drugs,. 2012. Rpt. in Addiction. Ed. Christine Watkins. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2014. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.

  • "Substance Use among 12th Grade Aged Youths by Dropout Status." The NSDUH Report: SAMHSA, 12 Feb. 2013. Web.

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