Category: Drugs and Alcohol Abuse

Category: Drugs and Alcohol Abuse

Teen Drug Abuse: How To Tell Whether Your Kid Is Addicted To Drugs.

Teen drug abuse is much more common than most parents would like to believe. As children reach their teenage years, they become more likely to embark on a journey of self-discovery. This might involve experiences that involve experimenting with various drugs, from marijuana to cocaine.

While some kids are simply succumbing to peer pressure, others use drugs to self-medicate from stress and other painful emotions to better their mental health. Others turn to prescription drugs, to improve their performance at school.

As a parent, you want to keep a watchful eye on your children. Educate them about drug use, so they understand the consequences involved.

how to know your child is abusing drugs

Common Drugs Abused by Kids

As a parent, it’s important aware of the substances that teens are most likely to abuse. Commonly abused drugs include:

  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Prescription medications
  • Ecstasy
  • Cocaine

Many kids will become curious about drugs and will experiment with them. Others succumb to peer pressure and try alcohol or drugs to fit in. It’s vital that schools and parents talk to teens about various drugs, and warn them about the severity and potential consequences of alcohol or drug use. Awareness, education, and preventative measures may be the key to preventing teen drug and alcohol abuse.

Drug use among teenagers is much more common than most parents believe. Teen substance abuse statistics can be quite shocking to some parents. In fact, 86% of high schoolers know someone who smokes, drinks, or experiments with drugs even on school days. Abuse and addiction are not uncommon.

To get a further understanding of drug use among teens, take a look at the following teen drug abuse statistics:

  •    5.9% of 12th graders in a survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse used marijuana on a daily basis
  •     16.6% of 12th graders had been binge drinking, which involves drinking more than 5 beverages on one occasion
  •     27.8% of 12th graders had used e-cigs in the past year
  •     74.8% of 8th graders start off using e-cigs with only flavoring inside but eventually progress to ones with cannabis oil
  •     2.0% of 12th graders misuse prescription drugs, like Vicodin

According to statistics, illicit drug use among teens has started to drop. Fewer and fewer teens abuse heroin and methamphetamine. The studies also show that more and more teens try drugs and drink, as they progress through high school. Prescription drug abuse is also much more common than most parents would like to believe.

Of all the drugs involved, marijuana appears to be the most popular. 71% of surveyed teens did not view cannabis use as harmful although 64.7% would disapprove of smoking weed on a regular basis. Drug and alcohol abuse rates have been rising in these areas. By knowing these statistics, parents will have a better idea of the drug abuse warning symptoms to look out for.

Symptoms and Warning Signs of Teen Drug Abuse

While you may suspect that your kid is doing drugs, it’s not always easy to recognize drug abuse warning signs. Answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the following symptoms and warning signs of drug addiction to get a better idea regarding whether your kid needs professional help via an addiction treatment program.

Tally up the amount of ‘yes’ answers you have to get a final score. Compare your final score with the results to get a better idea of the amount of influence that drugs and alcohol may have on your child. These warning signs may help you make a more informed decision.

  1. Has your child ever craved alcohol or drugs?
  2. Do you see a drop in school or home performance because of drug use or alcohol? This may include missing classes or having an unexplained drop in grades.
  3. Has your child started to hang out with new friends due to drugs or alcohol?
  4. Has your child started to isolate himself or herself because of drugs or alcohol?
  5. Do you feel that your child is neglecting his or her family and friends?
  6. Has your child lost friendships due to suspected drug use?
  7. Have you caught your child trying to hide drugs or alcohol from you?
  8. Has your child ever complained about withdrawal symptoms, like insomnia or headaches?
  9. Have you noticed your child engaging in reckless and risky behavior when on drugs or alcohol?
  10. Do you notice significant behavior changes, especially ones related to self-care and appearances?

You should get a final score between 0 and 10. Check out the results below to see whether your kid is addicted to alcohol and drugs or struggles with substance use disorders.

Quiz Results

0 Points

If you answered no to all questions, then you likely don’t have little to worry about. You might have noticed a bottle of beer or even found some marijuana in your kid’s room; however, it is unlikely that their drug use has become an addiction.

While one-time drug use will not lead to addiction, it may be the first step to addiction. It’s a good idea to sit down with your kid to look at the side effects and consequences involved with each drug.

1 to 3 Points

If you’ve answered yes to 1 to 3 questions, there’s a chance that your kid is addicted to drugs, or — at the very least — on the trajectory to addiction. He or she may be beginning to develop a dependence on various substances. Continuing drug use can lead to withdrawal symptoms.

It’s much easier to seek help now through various addiction treatment plans. The withdrawal symptoms tend to be minor, and there’s less of a chance of psychological dependence.

4 to 6 Points

If you’ve answered yes to 4 to 6 questions, your child may be struggling with moderate drug addiction. His or her use of narcotics may have elevated to abuse. Get your child checked out by a doctor to determine whether the drug use has caused any health issues.

7 to 10 Points

If you’ve answered yes to 7 to 10 questions, your child has likely developed a severe drug or alcohol addiction. There’s a good chance that they will experience withdrawal symptoms when getting sober. If they’ve developed psychological dependence, they may also be more likely to relapse.

The intensity of the withdrawal symptoms will depend on the drug they’ve been abusing, the length of drug use, and the dosage that they’ve taken. In most of these cases, a residential drug treatment program will be able to best offer the intimate care that’s needed.

Other Signs of a Drug Addiction

There are other physical signs and symptoms that may emerge depending on the type of drug that your child is abusing. Other signs of drug use and addiction include:

  • A change in appetite
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Paranoia and anxiety
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • Red eyes or a flushed appearance

Some types of drug use are easier to spot than others. For example, alcohol and marijuana use can be quite obvious.


What to Do If Your Kid Is Struggling with an Addiction

addiction treatment

If your kid is addicted to drugs, prepare to take action. Gather evidence to support your claims, and then stage an intervention. Discuss your concerns with your child, and educate them about the dangers involved with continuous teen drug abuse and use. Prolonged use can damage their physical and mental health.

Depending on the extent and severity of the withdrawals, quitting may be possible at home. Close parental supervision and discipline may be all that’s needed to stop drug and alcohol use for good.

If quitting results in the emergence of withdrawal symptoms, professional help, and addiction treatment may be necessary. Rehab will provide the resources and medical detox programs necessary to help your kid get sober. Substance abuse treatment can be incredibly effective.


Get Help for Your Kid as Soon as Possible

Teen addiction statistics have been on the rise for substances like marijuana and alcohol. It’s important to realize that your kids can be susceptible to addictions and alcohol and drug use. If you notice changes in his or her behavior and appearance, pay attention to their actions to get a feel for their drug use and health.

In the event that they have been abusing various substances, don’t hesitate to speak to one of our counselors to determine whether there’s an abuse treatment that will suit his or her needs. It’s better to contact us sooner rather than later. We can help work you through the various options that are available, and even assess your child’s condition and situation to determine whether he or she would benefit from rehab.

How to Prevent Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Teenagers.

Every year, the Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF) provides insight into teenage drug abuse by surveying high school students. In the 2019 report, it was evident that illicit drug use continues to increase among 8th and 10th graders. As parents, teachers, and caregivers scramble to discover how to prevent teenage drug abuse, a combination of education, prevention methods, and interventions must happen.

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The first step for preventing drug abuse is to talk. Discussing the risks of drug and alcohol abuse will educate teenagers on things they might not know about many substances. Make sure as a parent or caregiver. You’re listening to their questions, concerns, and comments about your discussion.


When you’ve gathered information to openly discuss drugs and alcohol abuse, choose a time when you know you won’t be interrupted. If you’re anxious or nervous about having this conversation, let them know your feelings. Being open and honest about how you feel about that discussion will likely open your teen and let them be honest with you about their feelings.

  • Ask them first: Forget about lecturing them about drugs and alcohol, teens are way too smart these days. Instead, ask them for their opinion. Ensure they can be honest and watch their body language to see how they truly feel about the topic.
  • Discuss why they should stay away from drugs and alcohol: Avoid crazy scare tactics, and be honest and real. Emphasize how these substances can affect their life, such as sports, driving, health, appearance, and even their friends.
  • Mention the media: Consider discussing how movies, TV shows, and music videos often glamorize drug and alcohol use. Make sure they understand the consequences; you might even discuss recent celebrity overdose cases or those who are open about their substance abuse struggles.
  • Be ready to discuss your experience: Think about how to respond if your teen asks about your drug and alcohol use. Whether you chose to use drugs or not, explain what drove you and what the experience taught you. Remember, honesty is vital.


Many teens will experiment with drugs and alcohol, like most people. However, even those who experiment are at risk of addiction. Knowing some prevention methods can help you avoid your children’s substance use.

  • Maintain open communication about taking drugs.
  • Text positive messages to your children to maintain open communication.
  • Get involved in their life and know about their friends, activities, and so on.
  • Know where your children are, what they’re doing, and with who.
  • Set a good example by not using drugs, limiting alcohol consumption, and managing your behavior.
  • Teach them how to say “no” to drugs and alcohol in various scenarios.
  • Make your home safe by keeping any prescription drugs locked or even away from the house.


Just like adults, teenage drug abuse is linked to countless factors. From insecurity, peer pressure, and experimentation, teens are always engaging in risky behaviors. Most of the time, teens don’t assess the dangers or consequences of their actions.

Research says key risk periods for drug and alcohol abuse happen during major transitions in children’s lives. Think about puberty, major social situations such as moving, or parents getting divorced. It’s in these situations that children are at the most vulnerable.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), most teenagers don’t progress to develop a substance abuse disorder. However, there’s a small percentage who do, and they can struggle with substance use for years.


Risk factors are particular and do vary for each individual. However, some of the most common risk factors for teenage drug and alcohol abuse include:

  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Mental or behavioral health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD
  • Impulsive behavior
  • History of traumatic events such as a car accident or abuse
  • Low self-esteem or feelings of social rejection


First of all, struggling with a substance use disorder can be a life-threatening illness. Not to mention, young people who experiment with drugs and alcohol can put their health and safety at risk. Substance abuse has countless dangerous and negative consequences, including:

  • Impaired driving: driving under the influence can place drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at risk.
  • Risky sexual activity: being under the influence can lead to unplanned and unsafe sex.
  • Concentration problems: drugs can negatively impact a teen’s brain development, causing memory problems later in life.
  • Drug and alcohol dependence: those who misuse substances as teenagers are more likely to struggle with drug and alcohol dependence.
  • Serious health problems: drug and alcohol abuse causes significant organ damage, including permanent damage to the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys.


How to prevent teenage drug abuse, you ask? As you can see, the answer isn’t a straightforward solution. If your child is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, there are many treatments available. Talk to a substance use counselor to learn more about your options and how you can help your child get the treatment they need to get better.

At PGIO Mission of Mercy, we recommend comprehensive addiction treatment programs that are tailor-made to meet our patient’s unique needs. We don’t believe in cookie-cutter treatment plans that don’t address patients’ particular behavioral needs. We recommend a recovery plan that incorporates evidence-based addiction treatment therapies, group support, family therapies, and other strategies to help those struggling with addiction find their way to recovery.

In most cases, teen drug abuse is linked to mental health illness. Those who struggle with conditions such as ADHD, depression, and anxiety will turn to the effects of drugs to self-medicate. Children with these conditions have an increased risk of struggling with substance abuse. Spend time discussing teen substance abuse and its link with mental health conditions.


If you believe your child’s drug and alcohol abuse is escalating, consider reaching out and speaking with addiction specialists.

On occasion, most people start with a detox program to ensure a safe and comfortable withdrawal from the substance. Teenagers can benefit from intensive outpatient programs that offer a flexible rehab structure that allows them to progress in their recovery, while at the same time, it provides them the time to continue attending school, sports events, and other activities.

Addiction can be a life-threatening illness, don’t wait until it’s too late. Even if you need help staging an intervention to discuss your teenage child’s drug and alcohol abuse, experts can help you find the right words to give them the advice they need.