Why We Need To Take Action Against Teen Substance Abuse
Teen substance abuse is more than just a simple misdemeanor. In fact, statistics show that it’s rising at an alarming rate. This growing problem needs to be addressed as soon as it is discovered, and the need to take action against teen substance abuse cannot be stressed enough.
According to reports, over 20 million people in the United States alone suffer from drug and alcohol abuse. Surprisingly, the cost of treatment and imprisonment have cost nearly $700 billion annually.
A lot of illicit substances have risen in popularity – or notoriety, to be more accurate about it – all over the country. Most of these substances are highly toxic, particularly when mixed with other chemicals. This is the primary reason for the increasing number of emergency cases of overdose and deaths.
Apart from adults, more teenagers have succumbed to substance abuse. Most of the time, teens whose parents have been substance users have a higher risk of abusing the same things as well.
Reasons why Teens Turn to Substance Abuse
Teens may have a lot of reasons why they chose to get hooked on drugs and alcohol. More often than not, it is primarily caused by problems in the family.
Most teens naturally feel the need to be heard all the time. Being prohibited to voice out their feelings may lead them to seek the approval of other people, regardless if they would be a bad influence on them.
Peer pressure is another reason why teens would be brave enough to pursue such a habit. Seeing friends using drugs makes them feel safe and good about the substance. In other cases, teens who feel a little shy may turn to drugs to feel bolder.
Effects of Teen Substance Abuse
Substance abuse is detrimental to a person’s brain, much more to that of a teenager. Drug abuse can have a significant negative impact on the developing brain. When these illicit substances are used for a long period, the brain’s normal function may no longer be possible.
Substance abuse can affect teenagers in different ways, such as:
- Mask emotional problems such as anxiety or depression
- Miss opportunities during a period of heightened learning potential
- Create problems with memory
- Develop delinquent behaviors
- Inhibit development of perceptual abilities
- Interfere with neurotransmitters and damaging connections within the brain
- Reduce the ability to experience pleasure
- Set expectations of unhealthy habits into brain circuitry
- More likely to involve themselves with vehicular accidents
- Tend to have unsafe sex
- Increase the risks of acquiring blood-borne diseases
Alcohol abuse is also quite common among teens and may have a different effect that in adults. Those who drink a lot are more likely to develop dependence than those who don’t.
Excessive use of alcohol can affect the teen’s overall health, such as:
- Delayed puberty and/or negative effects on the reproductive system
- Higher levels of liver enzymes that indicate liver damage
- Lower bone mineral density
- Shorter limbs and reduced growth potential
Every parent should be aware of the following classic signs and symptoms of substance abuse, so that they can seek help before things get worse:
- Drug paraphernalia
- Loss of interest in favorite activities
- Missing money
- Mood swings
- Poor hygiene
- Problems at school, such as excessive tardiness, poor grades, suspension, and getting into fights
- Problems with the law, such as DUI, breaking curfew, stealing, and the like
- Violent behavior
It is natural to see some changes as children grow up. However, if these changes start to affect their normal way of living, then parents should step up and find out what is wrong.
The Importance of Taking Action Against Substance Abuse
Teen substance abuse has constantly appeared in the news. You’ve probably heard of horrifying stories on how some teens met their untimely deaths due to substance abuse.
In as much as the government is putting in all efforts to combat drug addiction, it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that they have time to talk to their children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
The home is where children should be able to learn new things so that they can be guided accordingly. Knowing it from other teens may not be as helpful, particularly if the influential teens are going through some difficulties in relationships with parents or in school. When children are aware of the things that should be avoided, teen substance abuse may significantly drop.
Another helpful way on how parents can protect their children from developing these bad habits is by completely dropping their own. When children see these their parents using drugs, their minds may think that the substance is good for use since their parents are using them.
Here is a list of popular drug test products from TestCountry (One of Kids4Community Sponsors) for parents of teenagers that would like to start a home drug testing program
Connection Between Teen Substance Abuse and Homelessness
According to reports, at least 40% of the homeless population are dependent on drugs and alcohol. Alcohol is more common in older individuals, while drugs are more common among the younger group.
In addition, roughly 60% of homeless children are likely to get hooked on drugs. Substance abuse may have become their way to fend off the cold during winter or to forget about their growling stomachs when they are hungry. Nevertheless, this should not be happening.
Did you know that substance abuse can lead to homelessness? Some adults who have developed such addiction have lost their jobs, and eventually their families and homes. This situation leaves them with no other choice but to live in the streets. Being jobless would have stopped them from pursuing the addiction, but homeless people may become more addicted to these substances due to depression.
Kids4Community Wants To Fight Teen Substance Abuse
The good thing is that non-profit organizations such as Kids4Community have programs that provide shelter to homeless individuals, particularly women and children who have been suffering from extreme weather conditions since they do not have a home to live.
Kids4Community aims to support homeless people and provide them with basic needs, as well as give them hope that they can become better individuals through the different programs offered by the organization. Ending homelessness is one of our main goals at Kids4Community, and this will only be made possible if more people have the heart to help.