Teen Drug Abuse
There is a funny cartoon of a parent feverishly packing a suitcase, as the teenage daughter looks on. The caption reads, “Quick, we have to get you out of the house while you still know everything.” Parents can relate.
It’s a funny cartoon, but it is also based in truth. Teenagers think they know a lot more than they really do and when it comes to drugs, what they think they know amounts to nothing.
Teen drug abuse ebbs and flows in the United States, and sadly no amount of public education is going to impact that.
Think they can do ANYTHING!
Teens are invincible and will live forever. They do not necessarily have the capacity to reason all the way through a decision to fully comprehend the possible ramifications of their actions.
Sadly, this is all too true when it comes to drug abuse, as a first-time party experience often winds up in a trip to the emergency room. The pressures of being a teenager are great and the opportunity for disaster lingers every day. Drugs are everywhere.
Many reasons to use drugs
Teens will take drugs for a variety of reasons. Some might just succumb to peer pressure and try something they otherwise would not do. Others might try a drug just because they’ve been told not to do it. Still others are looking for an answer for how to feel better about their situation or how to cope with the pressures of life. Teen drug abuse starts for any of these reasons.
Add to that any number of mental frailties, such as a lack of self esteem and respect, low confidence, social isolation and difficult family relationships, and you can understand that a teen might turn to drugs because it is a quick and easy escape from the reality of living.
ALL teens are exposed to drugs!
All teenagers have exposure to drugs and alcohol. It’s everywhere. It’s not just sold on dark street corners or in back alleys, it’s in the schools and many children try drugs before they even get to high school.
We touched on some of the reasons kids will try a substance, and maybe they just want to try it and have no intention of using it again. But kids also do not understand the powerful euphoric rush of cocaine and the intense cravings that even a first-time using might experience. Kids in seventh and eighth grade have tried powerful, illegal street drugs.The peer pressure is tremendous and teens buckle under the social pressure.
Teen addiction starts with casual use and is NEVER expected.
Maybe they try it for a kick, but they do not understand at any level the serious jeopardy they are placed in. A Saturday night hit can easily turn into a fight with addiction. They do not understand that they can quickly develop an enormous problem.
They think they can handle it, but they can’t. Parents need to realize that the most commonly abused drug is alcohol. There is no such thing as an innocent high school beer party. There is no good that will come from parents allowing their teenage children to drink at home.
Pot is most common illegal teen drug abuse
The most commonly abused illegal drug is marijuana, and counter to “street wisdom” marijuana is addictive and a dangerous gateway drug, just like alcohol. Parents need to understand that trouble can start quickly and get worse from there. Trying to tell a teen not to do something is particularly frustrating and fruitless.
However, treating them with respect and having an adult conversation about drugs is a good idea and more effective. Off all the preventative measures you can think of, the least effective one is education.
All the government programs put together do not come close to the impact of an open, honest dialog between a parent and teen. Parents need to allow that conversation and allow their child to express him/her self.
Keep your eyes and ears OPEN
The best way to prevent teen drug abuse is to keep your eyes open. Notice any changes in their behavior. If a child is beginning to abuse drugs and is on the path to addiction they are going to leave a trail. They might lose interest in their friends, or what parents dread, start hanging out with the “wrong crowd.”
They are not interested in their favorite activities, or they shy away from family time. Their grades may slip, or they stop paying attention to how they look. Teens have a kind of social consciousness that motivates them to wear certain clothes, or cut their hair a certain way. When normal teenage stuff is no longer important, that’s a sign that something is wrong.
They might sleep too much, or star skipping school. They might lose weight or start to have health problems that are not necessarily expected. Teens are often “difficult” because they have teenage mood swings, but those can really get out of the ordinary when drugs are involved.
Teens almost always lie to parents about teen drug abuse
As they notice changes, parents may say something or ask their teen directly about what is going on. They probably are not going to get a straight answer. Or they will get anger, or lying or some other negative response. It’s frustrating, but stay calm. There is help and hope.
Treatment centers all over the country know exactly how to communicate with teens and how to help them get the drugs out of their life. Vigilant parents can effect positive action by not sweeping the problem under the carpet and facing it head-on. Parents who are being parents and not buddies will take charge of their teen’s life and move forward.
Drug pushers are VERY smart!
Teen drug abuse is a fact of life and just because “Little Johnny” is in grade school does not protect him from the advances of a drug pusher who wants to show him a good time.
The introduction of alcohol at an early age accelerates the likelihood of the onset of alcoholism. If a person waits until they are 21 to have that first, legal drink, the possibilities of developing the disease drop significantly.
Keep a good relationship
The best prevention of teen drug abuse is a good parent/teen relationship. The oft overused term “tough love” can be the true measure of care and compassion and just may save a life.
Here is a story of addiction which started early:
It's Starts Slow, Then Swallows You Whole!
It began in 9th grade. In early September of grade 9 I would have never believed I would end up where I am. Weed was like crystal meth to me and any other drug I would have never fathomed being appealed to. I'm not telling you this story to brag or be judged, I’m telling you this story to leer you away from choosing to do drugs or motivate you to quit before it becomes uncontrollable.
In October of 2008 I first tried smoking weed. I can't say it was my drug of choice, it made me feel lazy, slow and dumb. My friends seemed to like it but I didn't.
Lots of people when they try weed and don't like it they turn quick and go the right way towards a more successful life without drug abuse, but that wasn't me, not as time went on anyway. For awhile it was all about the reefer, I wasn't appealed to it and I wasn't pressured into smoking it.
Sometimes I did it for the fun of it, and sometimes I did it because everyone else was, and sometimes I was the bystander. There was always that voice in my mind a voice I lost, that told me to get out of there, but I put it on the backburner.
By February I was using a lot of prescriptions, taking 15-20 Tylenol a day to get some sort of worthless high, but it made me feel cool, like I had something to brag about.
And then there was ecstasy. A friend that became dear to my heart. But in reality ecstasy is anything but you're friend. It started out slow; I didn’t jump into it like my friends did. It started out one pill a month then one pill every two weeks, soon one wasn't enough so I took two.
6 months later I was doing pills everyday almost 4 or 5 at a time during the week and 10 at a time on the weekends. I came to school high, went home high, partied high, and slept high. At the time the rush is what made me happy, the euphoria kept me up. But the night's sobriety was forced because I was either broke or the city was dry were the worst.
When you're high life is easy, but as soon as you're sober, death is more appealing than life. Depression sunk in harder than ever possible. I was angry all the time, angry at the world and angry at the people who couldn’t give me my drugs. I hated my parents and slammed the doors in their face because the minute they would ask me what's wrong with me lately I would vaguely realize the person I stared at in the mirror.
My personality was gone. MY sympathy and happiness was gone. The only happiness I had was the synthetic doses the drugs gave me. For most people ecstasy is a phase. For me it was a year long phase.
The ecstasy stopped because I got bored but I moved on in October 2009 when I was introduced to "bigger and better" things, these things being cocaine in both hard and soft forms. A drug I didn't need to spend money on. I was a pretty girl which meant lots of free cocaine.
I didn't ever use myself to get it by any means but my smile and charm got me what I wanted. But what they gave me wasn't enough so I used my pay cheques to get even more.
Eventually I had done so much partying till 10am that I quit my job. Which left me broke, but I still had drugs around. I ended up running from home, and nearly failing my classes. Finally I moved to Medicine Hat with my dad for awhile which forced me to quit drugs.
But each week I visited home I went twice as hard every single day. It was a whiplash of hardship. It was one or two weeks of being high and then back home to two months of being sober.
My dad knew everything having thorough experience in what I was doing there wasn't much you could hide from him. In June, I decided to move back home. I played my smile and happiness up like a movie star. I manipulated my parents into believing I was changed and sped up the process of my bedroom being finished early simply so I could sneak out the basement window. For four months life was perfect. I waited till 10 to sneak out and did my drugs. Everyone got along because I was getting what I wanted and they thought they're perfect daughter was sleeping away. But as most parents do, they caught on. When the security system was installed and rules were grounded I lashed out. I left home again.
Moving out was the best thing that could happen to me. One of my best friends stuck by me through everything but she realized something was wrong with my drug abuse so she encouraged me to go to AA meetings. I'm not an alcoholic so I thought this was a ridiculous idea, like some sort of anger management course, I saw those meetings in movies and it just looked silly to me but I gave it a whirl.
After a few meetings I realized I was not alone. But what I also realized was that everything was my fault and that I was an addict. Admitting you're an addict is not an easy thing to do. I was afraid because the stories people shared and the bad qualities these people had had in themselves I realized reflected on me. I was scared so I ran away. But a month later I was back, finding I missed the place and the people that were there. I longed the feeling I had the first day walking out that door knowing for tonight I would be sober.
Slowly but surely the meetings grew on me and I grew up. I got over myself and learned to deal with my addiction. I realized my mom doesn't hate me, all she ever did was try to help me, the only reason I ever hated her was because she pointed out my flaws and made me realize I was a person I didn’t want to be.
I recently moved back in with my mom and I don’t think I could be happier to tell you I have curfews and boundaries. Drugs take them never give you need to remember that. What they take is love, emotions, happiness; family and anything you have ever genuinely cared for in you're life.
Drugs give you depression, anger, you lay awake at night wondering what the hell you're doing with your life or who that person is in the mirror. You go to sleep hoping it's all a dream but you wake up realize it's not and go use some more to hide from the harsh realities of who you are and who you have become.
Drugs strip you of everything you will and have ever loved. People fall away from you and you can't understand why. When I look around the parties I go to and see new young girls and boys come into the party houses I've been in for years and seeing them stuff bills up their noses it’s depressing.
This is not a life you want, believe me. So I hope this helps anyone who is, was or will become an addict and motivate you to quit or not even try it. The stories I read as a child and now about drugs being horrible, they aren't unrealistic or dramatized, they are true.
Drug addiction is only something you will understand if you're in it, so I hope you never have to understand why I am the way I am.