Drug use, abuse, and addiction can affect all age groups. However, male teens may be at greater risk because of hormonal changes, life changes, susceptibility to peer pressure, and experimentation. Learn how to spot the signs of teen drug abuse. Knowing how to identify a teen drug problem means you can get the teen help and medical support right away.
Teen Drug Abuse Statistics
Teen drug abuse is an ongoing problem in American society, afflicting adolescents with a variety of substance addictions. The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health investigated rates of drug abuse for adolescents across a variety of legal and illicit substances. Defining adolescents as those between ages 12 and 17, the NSDUH survey found:
- 9% of adolescents, or 2.2 million American teens, were current alcohol users in 2018. 1.2 million adolescents, or 4.7% of American adolescents, had engaged in binge drinking in the past month at the time of the survey. 1 in every 200 American adolescents were heavy drinkers, according to the survey. 401,000 adolescents, or 1.6% of that population, had an alcohol use disorder.
- 12.5% of American adolescents, or 3.1 million people, used marijuana in 2018. 2.1% of adolescents, or 512,000 people, had a marijuana use disorder.
- 112,000 American adolescents used cocaine in 2018. 4,000 American adolescents smoked crack.
- 10,000 American adolescents used heroin in 2018.
- 43,000 American adolescents used meth in 2018.
- 376,000 American adolescents, or 1.5% of that population, used hallucinogens in 2018.
- 1.5% of American adolescents, or 369,000 people, misused prescription stimulants such as Adderall in 2018.
- 1.8% of American adolescents, or 460,000 people, misused prescription sedatives, including benzodiazepines like Xanax, in 2018.
- Almost 700,000 American adolescents, or 2.8% of that population, misused prescription opioids in 2018.
Teen Drug Abuse Causes Social Withdrawal From
Sometimes, drug use can start as a reason to expand a social network. For instance, teens may suffer from a lack of self-confidence, or they might be anxious about social gatherings. While drug use might temporarily address these issues for teens, they will eventually do the opposite.
If teens or adults are struggling with drug addiction, they may begin to withdraw from their normal social circles. Instead of participating in sporting events, they might quit the team. Teens using drugs may make excuses to avoid family functions, or they might stop spending time with old friends.
Changes to Hygiene or Appearance
Another definite warning sign of male teenage drug use is when it comes to appearance. For instance, certain drugs can impact weight. Stimulants may cause rapid weight loss and a decrease in appetite. Other depressants may slow the metabolism and reduce energy, which can cause rapid weight gain.
Drug use can also impact energy levels. That might mean teens no longer have the motivation to shower before school or put effort into their outfits. If there are serious, unexplained changes to a teen’s hygiene, appearance or grooming habits, then it could point to drug use.
Drop in Performance
There’s no doubt that drug use can impact performance. For many teen males, performance primarily refers to educational performance. Teens that report lower grades in school, or who are underperforming in sports, music, and other hobbies, could be struggling with drug use.
Growing Financial Needs
No matter how old you are, drugs can be expensive. For teens, affording drugs is a particular challenge, because few teens hold down full-time jobs. Without income, they may face growing financial needs in order to pay for drug use.
Some of the obvious signs might include when your son repeatedly asks for cash but doesn’t have a good reason for needing it. Also, be aware of teens who work but don’t seem to spend their earnings on any tangible goods. Finally, be on high alert if teens are stealing cash or selling possessions in order to pay for drugs.
How to Treat Teen Drug Abuse
Drug and alcohol addiction treatment is the best way to treat teenage drug abuse. Even when parents mean well, teens need professional support and medical assistance. This is especially true in the case of heroin addiction treatment since opiate addiction can be so challenging to overcome.
At Serenity Lodge, we offer a wide range of addiction treatment programs available to meet teen needs. Some of the available treatment methods include the following:
- 12-step program
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Experiential Therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Relapse prevention
Recognizing teen drug abuse is the first step to getting your son or close family member help. If you notice these issues, don’t wait: call 866.379.4365.