Facts About Drug Addiction Among Teens

Many parents are not aware that teen drug addiction is a growing problem among our nation’s youth. While many teens may only dabble and experiment with various substances one or two times, other teens are hooked after the first time they use it. Sadly, parents tend not to take teen drug use as seriously. Instead, they may view it as their teen just experimenting and discovering oneself. Other parents view drug and alcohol use as just a phase they will quickly outgrow. But, then, some parents view drug and alcohol use as a “rite of passage” since they did the same thing when they were teenagers. Get more facts about drug addiction among teens, it’s important to be aware before it’s too late.

How Prevalent Is Drug Use Among Teens?

Unfortunately, times have changed, and parents need to take the time to arm themselves with knowledge about drug addiction among teens. According to data gathered by the APP (American Academy of Pediatrics) and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), children as young as 9 years old have experimented with drugs and alcohol. 

Other alarming data collected uncovered the following:

  • Half of the students in 9th through 12 grades have reported using marijuana at least once.
  • Four out of ten students in 9th through 12th-grade smoke cigarettes or vape. 
  • The most abused substances teens experiment with first are marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco. 
  • By the time teenagers start 12th grade, two-thirds have tried alcohol at least once.
  • Two out of ten high school students use prescription drugs without a prescription.
  • One-tenth of all alcohol consumption is consumed by teenagers.1 

National Statistics of Drug Addiction Among Teens

If parents do not find these statistics concerning, consider the following statistics of substance abuse among teens from the NCDAS (National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics):

  • Drug use jumped by 6t1% from 2016 to 2020 among 8th graders.
  • Half of all teenagers have abused some type of substance at least once. 
  • 2.08 million teens aged 12 to 17 report using drugs monthly. 
  • 1.19 million teens binge drink monthly. 
  • Almost 84% of those that use drugs monthly abuse marijuana.
  • 591,000 teens abuse some other drug besides marijuana monthly. 
  • Nearly 9% of 8th graders have tried drugs besides marijuana at least once. 
  • By 12th grade, almost half of all teenagers have experimented with drugs besides marijuana at least once. 
  • 7.1 million teens drink alcohol at least once a month. 
  • More than one-quarter of 8th graders have tried alcohol. 
  • Almost 17% of all teens binge drink five or more drinks. 
  • By 10th grade, 1% of teenagers drink alcohol daily. 
  • 7% of teens have tried tranquilizers.
  • 6% of teens have used LSD at least once.
  • Almost 8% of teens abuse hallucinogens regularly. 
  • Teenagers are twice as likely to develop a substance abuse disorder than an alcohol abuse disorder.2 

Georgia Statistics on Drug Addiction Among Teens

In Georgia, parents need to be aware of the following risks to their teenagers from data collected by the NCDAS:

  • Almost 7% of Georgia teens report using drugs monthly.
  • Out of those, nearly 90% use marijuana monthly.
  • Almost 3% of Georgia teens abuse prescription pain relievers. 
  • 11% of teens in Georgia have reported they have used marijuana at least once in the past year.
  • Over 7% drink alcohol monthly.
  • 340,000 Georgia teens use drugs daily. 
  • Almost 3% of Georgia teens have a substance abuse disorder.
  • Around 1.5% of Georgia teens have an alcohol abuse disorder.3 

Susceptibility to Addiction in Teens

While the percentages of drug abuse and drug addiction among teens might seem low, what parents need to remember is that their children are still developing mentally, emotionally, and physically. 

Drug abuse can alter the brain’s chemistry and development, which continues to around age 25. Furthermore, many of the substances teens experiment with can be gateway substances that entice them to experiment with other illicit substances. 

For example, your teen may start by smoking cigarettes or vaping, then begin using marijuana. From there, they are more likely to try prescription pain medications. Sadly, this process can continue. Ultimately, they could end up experimenting with heroin, meth, and deadly synthetic opioids.  

In addition, when teens abuse drugs, the amount of dopamine – the “feel good” chemical – released is significantly higher compared to adults who abuse drugs. The boost in dopamine levels can make teens very susceptible to addiction, as they will want to experience this type of “high” again and again. 

Drug Addiction Treatment for Teens in Atlanta

If you have caught your teen experimenting with drugs or drinking, or are concerned they are abusing substances, it is crucial to take action immediately. At Buckhead Behavioral Health in Atlanta, we offer services to help parents learn more about drug addiction among teens, including common signs and symptoms of drug abuse.

Should your teen have a substance abuse disorder, we have several treatment options for teenagers at our luxury rehab center. We work with parents and teens to develop a custom-tailored treatment plan that benefits teens and helps prepare them for their new drug-free lifestyle.

Please contact us to learn more about our drug addiction treatment programs and options for teens today!