Being a teenager is more dangerous than a lot of people expect. What was once thought to be a time of innocent, burgeoning youth has shown itself to be, statistically speaking, one of the most dangerous time periods of most peoples’ lives. Drugs are a big contributor to that.
Cars and guns account for more deaths of teenagers than drugs, but drugs are in third place. And the big difference between drugs and those other causes of death is that the teenager themselves has a lot more control over whether not they die from them.
But of course, a teenager hardly knows that. To them, there will often be no other course of action except to involve themselves with the drugs. Why is that? Well, let’s take a look at the reasons, because the situation is far more complex than you might expect it to be.
The Company They Keep
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. When most teenagers experiment with drugs, it is because the people around them are experimenting with drugs. People often think that teenagers are particularly impressionable. But the truth is that people are impressionable.
Most behaviors are learned, and the teenager years are the time to learn those behaviors. So, if a teenager is surrounded by people who take part in drugs, they will learn to do that.
The Mentors They Have
A surprising number of teenagers are introduced to drugs by their parents. This is the most true with the hardest drugs, like crack, heroin, and meth. The relationship between the teenager and these drugs is incredibly complex, but it is usually their parents that have the final word in it.
The Escape Options They Have
In this case we mean “escape options” figuratively. Teenagers are under a lot of stress, internally and externally. Even when they are not around the things that stress them out, those things can still haunt them in their minds. Drugs offer a chance at reprieve from those things.
It is simple when you think about it. If they have healthier means of escape, they don’t need drugs.
They Want to Rebel
It is basically a proverb that teenagers will do exactly the opposite of what their parents tell them to do. This includes doing drugs just because their parents tell them not to. It is obviously more complicated than that as to why they arrive at that decision, but it is no less true that it happens.
Keeping a teenager from rebelling is never a matter of stricter authority. Remember that.
They are Being Lied To
This is the reason why many teenagers in higher-end prep schools turn to drugs. In those locations, the drugs that are being used will usually be Adderall and other ADHD medication.
Essentially, they are used as performance enhancers. The teenager will be told that they need to use them in order to get ahead. This is two lies at once: First, they are told that they cannot do something that they can probably do. And second, they are told it is important enough to use a drug in order to get it done.
While we are on the topic of Adderall, that is the drug of choice for many teenagers who try to self-medicate their own problems away. They may have tremendous trouble focusing on school but be too ashamed to bring it up. This can cause them to try to solve the problem themselves.
When it comes to softer drugs though, boredom is one of the greatest motivators. A teenager without a lot of direction will turn to drugs as a means to pass the time. This can create a negative feedback loop. The more time a teenager spends on drugs, the less they know how to use their spare time on anything but drugs.
The easy solution to this is to help them find things they can do with their free time they enjoy.
Seeking New Experiences
Of all the reasons that a teenager might use drugs, this is probably the most innocent. Chances are that they have friends who are trying to convince them to try the drugs and describe it as some life-changing event. Which is technically true. Which makes it incredibly enticing.
Teenagers do not know what the world is like, so if a drug offers to explain the whole world to them just by altering their perception for a bit, they are likely to take it.
Bad Habits with Prescriptions
This can happen whether a teenager is prescribed Adderall, opioids, or just about anything else. It will start with them having a legitimate prescription. But teenagers have to be monitored carefully to make sure that they are fulfilling their needs and using the prescription responsibly.
Otherwise, it is possible that they use too much of it in a moment of weakness. Too much Adderall when they need to focus badly, too many painkillers when their cramps are too bad.
Teenager Chemistry is Complex
To jump off of the last point, the real reason why teenagers can underestimate the power of drugs is actually because they overestimate their need for it. A teenager’s body chemistry is constantly changing. The right amount of a prescription for them can change suddenly.
This means that they might feel pain far more sensitively one moment, and then seem to be totally numb to pain the next. This makes prescribing the right painkiller to them hard.
Between body chemistry issues, social issues, and problems they can run into at home (not to mention taking on the hardest academic challenges of their lives), it is a miracle that anyone survives being a teenager these days.
If you are seeking addiction treatment for a teenager in your life, be sure to be patient with them, and do not be afraid to go deep to ask for help. The number of potential causes of your problems means that there are also tons of solutions to the problems.