How Drug Use Has Changed Since the Baby Boomer & Generation X Days

Test Smartly Labs hears excuses every day as to why general testing or specific drug testing isn’t needed. When parents make these arguments, they might say:

“My teen doesn’t run with a bad crowd.”

“My kid can’t get drugs.”

“We live in the suburbs, so drugs aren’t an issue.”

“My child’s too young for drugs to be a concern.”

Sadly, many parents make these objections based on their knowledge of how drug use was in their teenage years. The Baby Boomers and Generation X grew up in a different time, and their thoughts about how teens use drugs are generally incorrect.

Parents need to be aware of how teen drug use has changed in the last 60 years. Here are some of the most noticeable ways:

Shifts in Teen Drug Use

Prescription Medication is a Drug of Choice

Prescription drugs like opiates and opioids are popular with teens today where marijuana and LSD were popular back in the day. 20% of high schoolers report using a prescription medication that was not prescribed by a doctor. They don’t get the meds from a dealer, either; teens are most often going into the family medicine cabinet. Sometimes they can get these medications from friends and family members.

It is a myth that prescription drugs are safer than illicit ones. When not used as intended, medications like OxyContin can be deadly when not used in the recommended manner.  In the last few years, prescription drugs have overtaken automobile accidents as the primary cause of accidental death in the US.

Test Smartly Labs encourages parents to take advantage of prescription drug take-back events and safe drop-off zones for secure medication disposal, as well as pill lockboxes and drug testing. Don’t be caught off guard by news that your teen has been abusing drugs.

Early Use & Abuse

It seems like a lifetime ago when a teen’s first drug use occurred around age 15.  Today, the onset of drug use starts around 12 or 13. Many parents assume their children are too young for drug use to be a concern, so they don’t properly educate their children, dangerously leaving them vulnerable to potential peer pressure and other drug use triggers. We recommend that you have a serious talk with your children about the dangers of drug use before they turn 12.

Not Just the Cities & At-Risk Youth

Teen drug use is not only a problem that affects low-income or inner-city families. Teens in rural and suburban areas are actually as likely – or more likely – to abuse drugs and alcohol as their city-dwelling counterparts. The same rule applies to children in middle- or high-income households.

Drug abuse also doesn’t discriminate against race, gender, or economic status. White teens are as likely as African-American teens to abuse drugs, as well as private school vs. public school attendees and athletes vs. non-athletes. Any preconceived notion you may have had about what a drug user looks like should be updated to fit the trends of the 21st Century. Don’t let stereotypes stop you from intervening when your teen needs it the most.

If you’re a parent concerned about your teen’s potential drug use, Test Smartly Labs can help. We provide accurate and confidential drug and alcohol testing, including tests for prescription and synthetic drugs.

IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR TEEN IS EXPERIMENTING WITH DRUGS OR ALCOHOL, WE PROVIDE ACCURATE AND CONFIDENTIAL DRUG TESTING. CALL (816) 800-9699 OR CONTACT TEST SMARTLY LABS TODAY. YOU CAN MAKE AN APPOINTMENT AT ANY OF OUR 5 KANSAS CITY AREA LOCATIONS.

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