Holding pills in open palm  Understanding Teen Drug Use Drug use USAAmidst all the varieties of teenage rebellion, nothing strikes fear into the hearts of parents quite so much as drug use. Drug use can be dangerous and addictive. Unchecked, it can change the course of a teen’s life.

Here at Trinity Teen, we work with teen girls from a variety of backgrounds. Often, when behavioral problems are present, there is also risk of drug use. Our treatment plan is meant to target and change underlying motives for behavior in order to help girls achieve their potential. Read on to learn more about teen drug use in the U.S. and how it relates to you and your daughter:

Drug Use Is Often Linked to Mental Health

What’s important to know about drug use is how closely it’s linked to mental health disorders. Nearly half of substance abusers also have a co-occurring mental illness. Sometimes, this is because drug use can lead to adjustments in brain chemistry. But most of the time, this is because people with mental health disorders self-medicate in order to alleviate symptoms of mental illness. For example, someone with chronic anxiety might start using alcohol more and more often to relax. This can be especially dangerous when the mental illness goes undiagnosed and untreated. The majority of mental illnesses manifest themselves in the teens and young adulthood.

Teen Drug Use Is Down in General

Now, if you’re a parent concerned about the peer pressure that your child might be facing to use dangerous substances, you might be relieved to hear that drug use among teens is significantly down from 10 years ago. Each year, we’ve been watching substance abuse in teens become reduced. In 1997, 43% of teens said that they had used an illicit substance during their lifetime. In 2016, that number was down to 32%. Drug education programs and changes in availability mean that our teens today are more aware of the dangers of drugs.

However, certain places are also experiencing big spikes in the number of opioid users, which is a dangerous trend leading to alarming overdose deaths throughout the country. And of course, 32% is still far too high a number.

Understanding the Difference between Use and Addiction

Just because drug use is down in teens doesn’t mean it’s been obliterated completely. However, if you do learn that your teen is using illicit substances, it’s important for you to know a couple of things:

Use is not the same as addiction. While drug use is fairly common, addiction is rare. It’s true that there are still many dangers to health and safety posed by casual use. But drug use and drug addiction are not the same.
Addiction isn’t the end of everything. If addiction is a threat to your child, remember that it doesn’t have to define them and their future. Many Americans beat addiction every day and go on to lead healthy, productive lives.
Most people who use drugs as teens quit entirely by their mid-20’s. Often, this is done even without the help of professional rehabilitation.

All that being said, there are still many dangers in teen drug use, and it’s something that should be taken seriously.

Teen Drug Use Trends in Nearby States

Our residents come from all over the country to find a new perspective. We are neither a drug rehab facility, nor are we certified to handle detox. However, we find that it’s helpful for parents of our residents to understand specific drug threats in their area, just as it’s important for children to be educated about the reality of drugs. Select a link below to learn more about teen drug use trends in your state: