Substance Abuse Among Teens Continues to Rise

The number of young adults dabbling in marijuana, prescription drugs and alcohol is on the rise. Before they graduate high school, more than half a million American teens will try illegal drugs at least once. A recent news article highlights the many reasons behind drug use and alcohol abuse among teens today.

Our society has grown to accept the use of prescription drugs for every ailment, condition or diagnosis. Children see this as common place, so their negative exposure to prescription drug use, its abuse and the risk factors are minimal. Because of the abundance of prescription drugs, it’s often easier for teens to get their hands on the drugs. However, marijuana use still takes first place when it comes to illicit drug use. Inhalants and prescription drugs come in a close second.

Cigarettes and alcohol are also just as prevalent as they always have been. Since neither is illegal and society has accepted their use for generations, parents find it really difficult to keep their children away from alcohol and cigarettes. Teens abuse of these substances continues to be a problem in our schools today.

For decades, schools across the United States have been trying to provide programs that assist in keeping teens from abusing alcohol and drugs. Programs such as the Drug Abuse Resistance Education, D.A.R.E., give students the tools necessary to completely understand peer pressure and the facts about the different drugs out there. The program is usually funded by a school’s local police department.

But the program alone hasn’t shown dramatic results so there’s still a need to develop programs that can help curb the rise of substance abuse among our young people. The U.S. Department of Education’s Safe and Drug-Free Schools program is in collaboration with the No Child Left Behind Act in an effort to reduce substance abuse among teens.