Half of all new drug users are under the age of 18. Experimentation plays the biggest role in teenage drug use.
Common reasons teens drug abuse includes:
A desire to escape
试图逃避现实（a desire to escape）
Alcohol is the substance most commonly abused by teens. The social acceptance of drinking among people of legal drinking age can lead many teens to view alcohol as relatively harmless. Approximately 20 percent of 12th graders reported binge drinking in 2014. Nearly 40 percent had used alcohol in the last month.
Regular marijuana users most often started during their adolescence. The perceptions of marijuana use among teens is changing; most high school seniors do not think smoking marijuana occasionally carries any risk. More than 20 percent of teens report having used marijuana at least once in the past month.
Many prescription drugs have intoxicating effects, and this is no secret to most teens. Narcotic painkillers like OxyContin and benzodiazepines like Xanax produce pleasurable effects that teens may seek out. These substances have high addictive potential and a risk of overdose. Nearly 40 percent of teens who abused prescription medication obtained the drugs from their parents’ medicine cabinet.
Are in periods of transition. Going from elementary to middle or middle to high school means teens are often introduced to new pressures and influences. Younger teens may be encouraged to do drugs to fit in with the older crowds, and new social circles could introduce teens who are already using drugs.
Suffer from mental health disorders. Depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns can manifest in children at a young age. In many cases, those who face these issues are more likely to have a substance abuse problem.
Don’t have positive adult influences. Teens who come from broken or abusive homes are rarely aware of the consequences of drug abuse. Additionally, teens who grew up around family or caretakers who abused drugs are far more likely to continue the cycle of abuse in their own lives.
Setting an example. By showing their teenagers what appropriate substance use or abstinence looks like, parents can teach them by example. This means limiting alcohol use and never driving after drinking. Designated drivers send a powerful message to teens about the importance of not driving under the influence.
Dispelling misconceptions. Young people may internalize the idea that everybody drinks or that some drugs are harmless. It’s important for parents to be aware of these beliefs and help debunk them.
Encouraging open communication. Teens should feel comfortable sharing anything with their parents, including questions about drug or alcohol use.
Avoiding and debunking media that glamorizes drug abuse. Movies, TV shows, music and video games may paint substance abuse in a positive light. Whenever possible, it’s best to limit these influences, but some are unavoidable. It’s important for parents to talk to their children about these messages and help them understand why drugs in real life aren’t as harmless or as fun as they are portrayed to be in movies.
Signs of Teen Drug Abuse
Some common signs of teen drug abuse include:
Laughing for no reason
Loss of interest in activities
Diminished personal appearance
Avoiding eye contact
Frequent hunger or “munchies”
Smell of smoke on breath or clothes
Parents can ask straightforward questions when said in the right tone. Simply asking, “Have you been using drugs or alcohol?” or “Has anyone offered you drugs recently?” can be enough to get the conversation started.