Substance abuse can change often, especially the type of drugs used, as new drugs find their way to the street. What doesn’t change is the fact that it can affect anyone from middle-age adults, grandparents, and teenagers.
Substance abuse has been known to negatively affect the growth and development of teens, particularly when it comes to brain development. Substance abuse also tends to take place more often with other dangerous behaviors such as reckless driving or unprotected sex. Further health problems can arise from drug and alcohol abuse later on in life such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleep disorders.
Studies have also shown that the earlier teens begin using substances, the higher the likelihood they will continue using substances and develop issues later in life.
Teens are more prone to abuse substances if they are also suffering from depression, low self-esteem, low impulse control, have a history of being abused, or have a family history of substance abuse.
Teen Substance Abuse Statistics
Here are seven facts about adolescent substance abuse in Utah:
- In Utah, 11% of high school students surveyed reported drinking alcohol before they were 13 years of age.
That means that by the time they were 13 years old, 11 percent of adolescents have tried drinking. While that’s under the 20% national average, it is still a shocking number.
- Of the 11% of high school students who drank alcohol, more than a third (39% ) stated that the alcohol they drank was given to them.
They didn’t sneak the alcohol or steal it but were given it to drink.
- 4% of students reported driving after drinking alcohol and an additional 13% stated they had gotten in a car when the driver had been previously drinking.
We know driving while impaired can be deadly and we educate our students in this regard, but it’s important to further explain when a person is considered impaired.
- Inhalants, like glue, aerosol spray cans or paint have been used by 11% of high school students to get high.
These are items that are commonly found and easily accessible in any household. They work by depriving the brain and body of oxygen while they person using fills their lungs with damaging gases.
- Roughly 3% of Utah teens, and teens nationwide, use recreational drugs, such as cocaine.
- Just as dangerous is the 7% of high school students who use pain relievers for “nonmedical” reasons.
Drugs like Oxycodon, Vicodin, and Percocet are being very quickly prescribed by doctors. Teenagers either gain access to them from their own prescriptions, for instance after their wisdom teeth removal, or by stealing them from their parent’s medicine cabinet. Not only are teens using and experimenting, but they are self-reporting as needing help and are not receiving any.
- 4% of teens said they needed treatment for alcohol use and did not receive it.
4% also said they needed treatment for illicit drug use and did not receive it.
It’s easy to think that it would never happen to you or your child and dismiss the facts. Nearly 1 in 25 high school students say they have a problem and need help. It’s important for you to know the signs of addiction and to openly talk with your children.
Drug and alcohol abuse is tied to substance abuse issues later on in life, and the most significant increases in destructive behavior seem to take place among older teens.
Why do Teens Use Substances?
Peer Pressure: the influence of people in one’s social circle or setting can provide an incentive for teens to begin using drugs and alcohol. Peer pressure can sometimes also be tied to bullying. Adolescents and teens face considerable pressure in their high school years from classmates and friends. This often involves risky behaviors such as trying drugs or alcohol.
In such situations, teenagers can feel as though they need to give in to this pressure to fit into a particular social group.
Academic Pressure: high school can be very burdensome for teenagers due to the pressure tied to their studies. Classes become more difficult and troubles can mount when considering college, careers, and the future in general. The pressure of getting good grades from parents and teachers can encourage teens to look to drugs to boost their energy, help them study, or aid in sleeping.
Taken without a prescription, such substances can become addictive and cause dangerous health effects.
Addiction Help for Teens and Adults in Utah
If you suspect your child is using drugs or alcohol, let them know you are there to support them throughout rehabilitation and recovery. If necessary, host an intervention using these tips.
Importantly, it’s been shown that teens who repeatedly hear about the dangers of drugs from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use drugs than those who do not. Peak to your teen early and often about the threat posed by drug and alcohol use.
Are you, or someone you know dealing with teen substance abuse and addiction? Call Alpine Recovery Lodge to begin treatment and a new way of life: (866) 410-2536.