Teenage Abuse and Addiction
Teen drug and alcohol use has far-reaching effects.
There is a good reason for concern: the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) published a national study in 2011 that declared teen smoking; drinking, misusing prescription drugs and using illegal drugs are public health problems of epidemic proportions. The study looks at how American culture increases the risk that teens will use addictive substances and how the messages sent by adults, and glamorized by the tobacco and alcohol industries and the media, normalize substance use and undermine the health and futures of our teens.
The CASA study found that 90 percent of Americans who meet the medical criteria for addiction started smoking, drinking, or using other drugs before age 18. In the same vein, the study showed that 1 in 4 Americans who began using any addictive substance before age 18 developed an addiction, compared to 1 in 25 Americans who started using at age 21 or older.
In a separate 2010 survey of high school students, the study found that 75 percent of all high school students have used addictive substances including tobacco, alcohol, marijuana or cocaine; and 1 in 5 high school students meet the medical criteria for addiction with nearly one-half of them using addictive substances. Most teens engaged in drug use see using drugs as a way to have fun or to fit in with their peers. The drugs make them feel good and are a way to relieve the stress of school, problems at home, social problems and the pressures of growing up.
When teens do become addicted they lose friends, develop health problems, fail in school, experience memory loss, lose motivation, and isolate themselves from family and friends with their negative behavior and unpredictable mood swings. The problem goes deeper since most teens that are addicted don’t see themselves as having a problem. The professional staff at Caron Treatment Centers knows that the sooner you can recognize the signs of teen substance abuse, the sooner you can get help for your teen.