Teen Drug Abuse

What Percent of Teens Abuse Drugs?


Illicit Drug- an illicit drug is a drug that is prohibited by international law.

Inhalant- volatile substances that produce chemical vapors that can be inhaled to induce a psychoactive, or mind-altering, effect.

Synthetic Marijuana- a designer drug in which herbs, incense or other leafy materials are sprayed with lab-synthesized liquid chemicals to mimic the effect of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in the naturally grown marijuana plant.

Percent of Teens That Abuse Alcohol and Illicit Drugs

A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry questioned a sample of 10,123 teens in the U.S. between the ages of 13 and 18 in 2012. The researchers asked the teens about their personal drinking and drug use. The results showed that 78% of the teens asked had drank alcohol before and 47% of them said they consumed 12 or more drinks in the past year. When asked about drug use 81% of teens said they had the opportunity to use illicit drugs while 42.5% of them actually tried it.

Drugs Most Commonly Abused by Teens

Alcohol and Tobacco are the most commonly abused drugs by teens. Right behind those two is Marijuana. The next most common drugs differ by age. Younger teens tend to abuse inhalants such as breathing fumes of cleaners, glues, and pens. Older teens more commonly abuse synthetic marijuana and prescription medications.
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List of Drugs Most Commonly Abused

  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Hallucinogens
  • Heroin
  • Inhalants
  • LSD
  • Marijuana
  • MDMA
  • PCP
  • Steroids
  • Tobacco
  • Salvia
  • Prescription Stimulants
  • Prescription Sedatives
  • Prescription Opioids
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Reasons Why Teens Abuse Drugs

  • They want to fit in with friends or groups.
  • They like the high.
  • They think it makes them more grown up.
  • Peer Pressure
  • Internal Problems
  • Curiosity
  • Boredom
  • Relaxation
  • Depression
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Teen Drug and Alcohol Abuse Video

Long Term Effects

Alcohol and illicit drugs are known to cause many serious problems in the development of the brain as well as brain functioning. Memory loss, ability to concentrate, and motor skills are all affected by drug and alcohol abuse. For teens, this can be even more significant as the brain is still developing and any damage to sensitive nerves or brain matter can be permanent. A teen may choose to take drugs, drink alcohol and put themselves into dangerous and potentially harmless situations more easily than adults. A teen may make the decision while under the influence of alcohol to drive a car, to engage in unsafe sex or to take other substances. Poor decisions like this can have long term consequences.

Ways Teens Can Get Help With Abuse

  • Drug Free Helpline for Teens - 1-855-DRUGFREE
  • School Counselor
  • Rensselaer County Mental Health Department

Work Cited


· "Survey Reveals Shocking Levels of Teen Drinking, Drug Abuse." CBSNews. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

· "Teen Alcohol and Drug Abuse-Topic Overview." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

· "Teen Drug and Alcohol Abuse Video." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

· "Alcohol - Above the Influence." Above the Influence. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

· "What Drugs Are Most Frequently Used by Adolescents?" What Drugs Are Most Frequently Used by Adolescents? N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

· "High School and Youth Trends." DrugFacts:. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

· "What Are Inhalants?" What Are Inhalants? N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

· "Consequences of Adolescent Substance Abuse." Alcohol Rehab. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

· "Synthetic Marijuana (Cannabis) Spice / K2 - Drugs.com." Synthetic Marijuana (Cannabis) Spice / K2 - Drugs.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

· "Commonly Abused Drugs Charts." Commonly Abused Drugs Charts. N.p., 04 Mar. 2016. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.