Teen Issues with Drug Use: Recent Statistics and Advice for Parents
Depending on who you ask, you might get a very different picture of how drugs are affecting teens in the United States. While it’s certainly true that drugs are a big problem for many teens, there’s also some good news to consider. According to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, illicit drug use in high school seniors is at the lowest it has been since 1975.
Some parents have been concerned that cannabis is being legalized in many states, but the research does not suggest that this change is having a negative effect on teens. The rates of cannabis usage in young teens has maintained a five-year decline, and the rates for high school seniors remains unchanged.
All of this suggests that now is an excellent time for parents, schools and communities to work together to continue the trend of distancing teenagers from illicit drug use.
A Parent’s Work: Providing Teens with Truthful Perspectives on Drug Use
While teens are using less drugs, a number of them also feel that drugs are not actually that dangerous. When asked about drugs like opiates or ecstasy, many teens felt that occasional usage presents no risk of harm. This suggests that further education on the dangers of opiate addiction are necessary.
Parents should also work to educate their kids on the problems that can come from using certain drugs. There are more risks to drugs than simply overdosing or becoming addicted. For example, ecstasy can lead a vulnerable teen into situations where she is surrounded by dangerous people who seem nice thanks to the euphoric effects of the drug. Too often, addiction and death are presented as the only real dangers, and when teens see their friends using drugs without these serious consequences, they might begin to believe there are no consequences at all.