Teen Addiction Facts

Teen Addiction Facts

FACT: Teenagers are at particular risk of alcoholism and drug addiction, more so than adults in their early twenties, because the frontal lobe of their brain is not yet fully developed.

FACT: A few years ago some statistics were gathered on people who were either abusing drugs, or had developed dependence or addiction. One stat was alarming concerning the breakdown in age groups. Teens 12-17 had the highest rate of abuse or addiction, 60.6, compared to 37.4 % of young adults aged 18-25, and 24.3% of those older than 26. The younger a child is the more apt he/she is to develop a problem. .

FACT: Parents are the front line fighters against addiction.

FACT: Parents can partner with educators, law enforcement, clergy, social workers and concerned citizens to try to curb drug abuse and limit the cases of addiction.

FACT: Open and honest communication, a dialog, is essential to help teens understand the dangers of abuse and addiction.

FACT: The most common mistake parents make is trying to force their teenager to comply or obey rules. Parents need to be parents and not best buddies.

FACT: Teens will begin drinking, or try illicit drugs, or abuse prescription drugs for a variety or reasons, including, but not limited to peer pressure, desire to fit in, wanting to be cool, want to look “grown up,” or a desire to feel good and deal with self esteem issues.

FACT: The human brain does not mature until one is about 24 years-old. The brain develops in sections, from back to front. The frontal lobe is the last to mature. The first to develop is the cerebellum, which handled motor function and sensory processing. In the “middle” is the nucleus accumbens which regulates motivation. These teen addiction facts explain a lot about why kids are SO much at risk.

Next comes the amygdale, controlling emotions. Follow the pattern? Teens will have the motor skills and sensory functions of an adult before anything else develops. Finally, at the end, the frontal cortex is regulating judgment.

FACT: Teens using drugs interrupt this development and potentially could cause themselves irreparable harm.

FACT: Teens who abuse drugs may have the physical skills of an adult, but the reasoning of a child. They may have the emotions of an adult, but cannot control them. These teen addiction facts also explain a lot about why kids are SO much at risk.

FACT: Teens who abuse drugs may arrest their brain development and experience cognitive and emotional problems as adults.

FACT: Parents who do not understand how their child develops and assume that they are going to be “level headed” and responsible are taking a serious risk.

FACT: Among teens, the most abused drugs are alcohol and marijuana.

FACT: In 2008, an estimated 22.2 million persons aged 12 or older were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year (8.9 percent of the population aged 12 or older). Of these, 3.1 million were classified with dependence on or abuse of both alcohol and illicit drugs, 3.9 million were dependent on or abused illicit drugs but not alcohol, and 15.2 million were dependent on or abused alcohol but not illicit drugs.

FACT: Marijuana was the illicit drug with the highest rate of past year dependence or abuse in 2008, followed by pain relievers and cocaine. Of the 7.0 million persons aged 12 or older classified with dependence on or abuse of illicit drugs in 2008, 4.2 million were dependent on or abused marijuana or hashish (representing 1.7 percent of the total population aged 12 or older, and 60.1 percent of all those classified with illicit drug dependence or abuse), 1.7 million persons were classified with dependence on or abuse of pain relievers, and 1.4 million persons were classified with dependence on or abuse of cocaine. People often ignore these teen addiction facts.

FACT: Teens do not necessarily perceive risk, nor do they necessarily understand that they need help. This shows the need for family members and loved ones to be aware of what the teenager is doing and get them some help. Just like adults, teens struggle with denial. By the time a teen understands that something has gone amiss, they are in serious trouble. People often ignore many of these teen addiction facts and boy is that a bad idea.

Broken dreams at thirteen!

by Christi
(Liverpool, England)

Hard to believe isn't it? I come from a wealthy loving home. I was a cheerleader, but what cheer do i have left now? I started using after my older brother/best friend was killed in a car accident.

You would think that a little something to take the edge off wouldn't hurt anyone, right? Peer pressure and a little morphine could turn the prettiest most popular girl into me!

A few weeks ago i had sex with a junior in high school for 100 pounds. Addiction turned me in to a whore. I'm 13. Wow. Wasn't that a happy little story? Right now I'm in rehab and recovering slowly. But I feel a lot better and all i had to do was talk. I talked to my mum she cried a lot then called a treatment centre.

Drugs started out cool then turned into your worst nightmare. As the wise man once said, "the road to hell was paved with good intentions". That's the case with morphine a painkiller used for "fun" turned into a fatal chemical.

All i feel like saying is don't turn to drugs to take your mind off your pain because it ends up hurting a lot more then it did before.

For more about teen addiction facts visit our home page, or return to Teen Addiction.

and Finally Remember:

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
- Matthew 7:7-8

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