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Teen drug abuse, and what you can do to help

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

Most teens will likely experiment with drugs; keeping your teen and yourself educated on drug abuse, and drug addiction can have a huge impact on your teen and their choices.

Talking to your teen in a way that they don't feel belittled or spoken down to about the consequences of using drugs, such as addiction, and the effects on their health long term can make a significant impact on how they make choices.

Why do teens use drugs?

There can be many reasons why a teen is using drugs. Some teens may feel as if nothing bad will happen to them, and using drugs is no big deal, especially in a social setting like a party.

  • Drug use can also be a result of low self-esteem or insecurity.

  • Some common risk factors for teens to use and abuse drugs are:

  • Mental health, such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD

  • A traumatic experience such as an assault of any kind or a car accident

  • Impulsive behavior

  • Feelings of being rejected by friends

This list isn't exhaustive of the reasons teens may turn to drugs; these are some more common risk factors. If you have reason to believe your child is at risk for drug use or addiction, it may be time to talk to your teen.

Talking to your teen

Talking with your teen about drugs isn't going to be a one-time conversation, and due to the seriousness of these talks, some thought does need to go into how you approach the topic. When you have these conversations, you must be calm and have topics prepared to talk about and answers to questions that may be asked.

It's a good idea to try and put your emotions aside. Easier said than done but getting upset will take the conversation in the wrong direction or shut it down altogether.

A few tips for talking to your teen about drug use:

  • Discuss how using drugs or even a drug addiction will affect your teens' life, and emphasize areas that are important to them, like if playing sports is something they enjoy, that they will not be able to play if they are using drugs. Try not to be authoritarian and emphasize it is not a punishment from you but how it is looked down on, and people taking drugs end up giving up on sports when they have a drug addiction.

  • Discuss the media they see and how drug use is romanticized in the media. Explain that it's not real life and let them give you their thoughts and opinions.

  • Offering up stories of using drugs yourself and what you experienced and what led you to make healthier choices can help your teen relate to you better.

  • Discussing peer pressure is important, as how to turn down drugs even if their friends are doing it.

Seeking help for your teen

If you have a suspicion that your teen is using drugs or has a full-blown addiction, you need to act quickly. So, what are some things you can do?

  • Check-in with your teen regularly. They may see it as pestering them but ask where they are going, and who they are going with when they are coming home.

  • Focus on the behavior. Make sure to emphasize that using drugs is dangerous, but it doesn't make them bad people.

  • Seek a professional. If you feel that you need help to help your teen seeking out a professional who specializes in teen drug addiction is always an option.

Having conversations with your teen about drugs that are open and honest is an excellent stepping stone to preventing your child from using drugs or helping your child overcome drug addiction. If you are a parent in Orange County or the South Bay feeling stuck and your teenager is constantly making poor choices, we can help.

We work in the home with families to help remedy problematic behaviors and create better habits long-term. We provide in-home drug testing, sobriety services, and teen addiction help in Orange County and the surrounding areas.


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