Why Do Teens Do Drugs?

The thought that our children could be using drugs is a terrifying one. We’re looking for any signs of drug use, from smelling their breath to searching through their room or book bag.

While we’re on the hunt to learn about our teens and the drugs they may be using, let’s not forget one of the most important steps: identifying why teens might use drugs in the first place.


What Prompts a Teenager to Try Drugs

There’s more than one reason a teen may be prompted to try drugs. Each decade, there seems to be a new generation of teens that are motivated by factors those of us in an older generations don’t really understand. So what all is happening in your teenager’s head?

Peer Pressure

We’ll start with the most common, most well-known reason teens do drugs: peer pressure. Your teen may feel pressured to fit in, appear cool or even avoid being bullied… which is a bigger problem these days than ever. However while you think of the traditional forms of peer pressure (name calling, harassment on the school bus, note passing) – remember that this generation of teens also has camera phones, texting and social media to manage on top of everything else. It’s all too easy for teens to say “yes” to the pressure to try drugs or alcohol these days to skirt the embarrassment or humiliation that may come with an alternative answer.

Relaxed Parenting and Spoiled Teens

Warning: toes may be stepped on. However, if you’re one of those parents that lets it slide that the dishes weren’t done, room is trashed and homework isn’t finished – you might be setting yourself up for trouble. According to Teen Drug Use, “this type of parenting can lead to substance use and abuse.” Spoiled teens have a tendency to use drugs and alcohol more.

Crazy Emotions & Depression

Do you remember what it felt like to be a teenage? If you don’t, here’s a fresher: think roller coaster. Between 13 through 19, a teenager changes dramatically. Guys and gals both undergo huge hormonal changes. Depression rolls in. Attraction to the other sex makes an entry. Joy, sadness, anger, fear, insecurity – these are just a few of the emotions a teen will go through as they navigate some of the most complex years of life. So, teens in a volatile situation may turn to drugs & alcohol just because they don’t know where else to turn. That’s why it’s really important for parents to be engaged and supportive. Don’t necessarily be a friend, but don’t unplug either. Know how your teen is feeling.

Because They’ve Seen Addiction

If addiction runs in your family, you need to keep your eye on your teen for similar patterns. Teens that come from a family history of addiction may be more prone to use drugs or alcohol as well. For one, it’s the principle of modeling. A child watches a parent and takes cues, so if alcohol and/or drug abuse is near, the child-turned-teen may mimic those same behaviors. Additionally, addiction in the home often causes a stressful situation, and teens may turn to substance abuse as a way to escape.

Other Reasons Why Teens Use Drugs

These are just some of the common reasons we see teens using drugs, we know there are many, many more. If you’re looking for more information, we highly recommend this fantastic website:

Time To Act

It will walk you through how to know if your teen is involved in drugs, why they might be experimenting, and tips for you as a parent on how to handle the situation.

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