The sneaky and dangerous trend in teens substance abuse

Substnace abuse 12.17.13The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) provides national and state-level data on the use of tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, and mental health in the United States. Its most recent report shows teen trends in substance abuse:

  • The most popular drug among teens remains alcohol, but its use is steadily declining
  • The use of tobacco continues on a sharp decline and is now at an all time low
  • Illicit drug use among teens in the U.S. is rising and at its highest level in 8 years!

Alcohol and tobacco decline contrasts with the rising of illicit drug. The introduction of heroin to teens has increased by a shocking 80 percent since 2002.

Heroin is a dangerous and powerful addictive drug. Its addiction rate among people who try it is almost 23%, making it the highest addiction rate of any illicit drug.

The vast majority of parents are aware of it. They educate their children and do their best to prevent heroin from ever being a part of their child’s lives.

The sneaky and dangerous trend is the use of opioids. The University of Michigan recently released a report called the “Monitoring the Future” study. It states that almost 12% of high school seniors report using Vicodin or Oxycontin in the last year–that means roughly four or five high school seniors in every classroom across America!

Most teens who use opioids are getting them from fully legal prescriptions, written for other family members as painkillers. Dentists frequently write prescriptions for an opioid.

Opioids, much like Heroin, are derived from the Asian opium poppy, and produce a similar reaction to the brain’s reward system through opiate receptors. Therefore, they are likely to produce a heroin-like addiction.

Many parents are not alarmed about pain-relievers addiction. This is a trend that deserves attention and a change in parenting behavior and education. Parents, you must monitor the necessary use of these drugs, throw away any pills that may be left over, and make sure your children are aware of the dangers of the abuse of these drugs.

Not only are these drugs dangerous on their own, but once a teen tries one of them, they are very likely to attempt combining them.

A study recently published in the “Archives of General Psychiatry” reports the cold, hard facts following facts:

  • 78 percent of U.S. teens report drinking alcohol
  • 45.6 percent of the 12th grade students had gotten drunk
  • 81 percent of U.S. teens report having the opportunity to use illicit drugs
  • 32.4 percent had tried marijuana, and 9.1 percent reported using narcotics.

As parents, we have a natural inclination to think that our kids are smart, well educated and will make the right decision.

These percentages are here to set us right. Teenagers are teenagers, not adults. Their brains don’t function as an adult brain. They are not armed the same to fight temptations. Teens brain soak up knowledge like a sponge. This is responsible for the unique risk of the adolescent life. Worse, addiction is far more likely than with an adult brain. Please, always keep that in mind, stay vigilant, stay close to them and don’t hesitate to raise the question.

TBQE, The Best Question Ever is an app that enables teens to ask questions to their peers. Questions that they sometime don’t dare asking to adults. Let your tweens and teens know that such a place exists, that it is safe and that their real name is not shown.

A very useful website for prevention, designed for both teens and parents: http://www.fcd.org/

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  1. [Report] Adult illicit drug users are far more likely to seriously consider suicide | Full Text Reports… « Health and Medical News and Resources - February 1, 2014

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