The Effects of Drug Abuse on Teens

Teenagers often experiment with a variety of activities and substances. Unfortunately, this experimentation can lead to substance abuse and addiction. Statistics show that drug abuse is a growing problem among teens. In addition to cocaine, Ecstasy and other club drugs, a recent Monitoring the Future Study showed that the top six most abused drugs by teens are: marijuana (31.5%), Vicodin (9.7%), amphetamines (8.1%), cough medicine (6.9%), sedatives & tranquilizers (6.6% each). Without treatment, the effects of drug abuse on teens can lead to serious consequences now and well into adulthood.

Signs of Teen Drug Abuse

There are many symptoms of drug abuse, but some of the most common signs your teen is abusing drugs are:

* Problems with the law, such as DUI, breaking curfew, stealing, etc.

* Problems at school, such as excessive tardiness, poor grades, suspension, etc.

* Mood swings

* Loss of interest in favorite activities

* Drug paraphernalia

* Violent behavior

* Withdrawal

* Depression

* Poor hygiene

* Missing money

Effects of Drug Abuse on Teens

Drug abuse at any age can cause serious health effects, but teens who abuse drugs are at particular risk for negative consequences. Teens who abuse drugs are more likely to struggle with addiction later in life and have permanent and irreversible brain damage. Some other common negative effects of teen drug abuse are:

* Emotional problems. Drug abuse can cause or mask emotional problems such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, suicidal thoughts and schizophrenia. In fact, among teens with major depression, 34.6 percent report using drugs. Unfortunately, drug use can also increase the severity of these emotional problems. For example, teens that use marijuana weekly double their risk of depression and anxiety.

* Behavioral problems. Teens who abuse drugs have an increased risk of social problems, depression, suicidal thoughts and violence. According to a recent survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, teens who abuse drugs are more likely than teens who don’t abuse drugs to engage in delinquent behaviors such as fighting and stealing.

* Addiction and dependence. Studies prove that the younger a person is when they begin using drugs the more likely they are to develop a substance abuse problem and relapse later in life.

* Risky sex. Teens that use drugs are five times more likely to have sex than teens who don’t use drugs. Teens that use drugs are also more likely to have unprotected sex and have sex with a stranger. This leads to higher risks of STDs, teen pregnancy and sexual assault.

* Learning problems. Drug abuse damages short-term and long-term memory and can lead to problems with learning and memory later in life.

* Diseases. Teens who abuse drugs with needles increase their risk of blood-borne diseases like HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis B and C.

* Brain damage. Drug abuse among teens can result in serious mental disorders or permanent, irreversible damage to the brain or nervous system. Brain damage among teens who abuse drugs includes brain shrinkage; impaired learning abilities; amnesia and memory problems; impaired reasoning, perception and intuition; increased or decreased socialization; and changes in sexual desire.

* Car accidents. Teenagers who abuse drugs are more likely to be involved in car accident-related injuries or death. One study showed that 4 to 14 percent of drivers who are injured or die in traffic accidents test positive for THC.

Teen Drug Treatment

If you know a teen who is abusing drugs, don’t wait to intervene. The sooner your teen gets help for drug abuse, the more likely they’ll be to avoid the long-lasting consequences. Fortunately, there are many different teen drug rehabs to choose from. The most effective teen drug rehab, however, may be a residential treatment program. Here your teen will have access to 24/7 supervision and care, detoxification, dual diagnosis treatment and a variety of holistic treatments based on their individual needs. Talk to a medical doctor about your teen’s symptoms and determine which type of drug abuse treatment is best for your teen.

Leave a Reply

46 Responses to “The Effects of Drug Abuse on Teens”

  1. Hannah

    Is it possible to use illicit drugs, but not abuse them? I know that marijuana has medicinal qualities as well as other non-beneficial side effects. Can it use be regulated for recreational use, but not abused? Same goes for other drugs such as cocaine; is it possible to be used recreationally, but regulated and not abused?

  2. Thulani

    Hi, I live in South Africa, I went through the facts thanks for the effort.

  3. sihle

    I really like the page.I printed it out and my classmates went WOW!

  4. Laquisha

    this is horrible! dont mood swings happen when you have your period not when your taking drugs

  5. amailuk

    They are not called ” illicit drugs” for no reason. Your question is similar to “can I play with a loaded gun, and not get harmed?” Cause that is what drugs are, worse than a loaded gun. They are trouble through and through. The answer is simply No You Can’t. play with fire, you are bound to get burnt.

  6. amailuk

    the mood swings during periods are childs play… what happens with drug abusers is horrible. they get violent and can hurt people when in that drugged state. their mood swings are worse and cannot be cmpared to the ones that happen during periods


    i understand the effects of using illicit, but can it have a positive side on your life.i recommend that persons should go counselling because from what i`ve read that wasn`t mentioned.

  8. lavinia

    A really really informative page and will be a great secondary information for my assignmment. THANK YOU

  9. skhumbu

    Ya thanks 2 this page I use 2 abuse drugs but from now on I have learned that I must not abuse it.

  10. cillia

    thank you so much its been a great help for my school research project

  11. Beyams G.

    Thanks, it will be my psychological research to those involve in drugs abuse.

  12. Pevel

    Thank you so much its great help for my group assignment

  13. EliteInfinity

    I’m a pro gamer and I never knew drugs could be so bad, the closest I’ll ever get to a drug is in Grand Theft Auto. THANK YOU! 😀

  14. joshua oc

    people especially teens should try to abstain from drugs because the are destructive and dangerous

  15. Annamarie

    I found this on Google for my Cause and Effect essay for ELA. My subject is “The Negative Effects of Drugs on Teenagers.” I found this and started looking at all the info, then I told my teacher and she told me, “Good!” 😀

  16. jessica

    this is so motivating…………… people would see reasons and be careful

  17. Kenya T

    Omg this page is very inspirational. It informed me on how to help others who are abusing and taking drugs

  18. Kenya T

    I am doing a progect for health class based on drugs and is not allowed to use Wikipedia! But the more I read this article the more I learned about drugs and how to help others who are using drugs 🙂 ♥♡♥

  19. fatefellshort

    Sigmund Freud used Cocaine multiple times in his life and he did not become addicted. I’m not saying that it is okay to do drugs, because its not. But I needed to prove a point to the person saying its like playing with a loaded gun.

  20. Oloyede

    It leads to death.drug abuse among teens may lead to mental disorder and at last lead to death

  21. abdul

    i hate drugs they are bad for people the only high i need is life

  22. wanda

    My brother is a drug addict and he is showing the same signs and symptoms like anxiety,mood swings,stealing,fighting,lack of concentration. I am the elder one and a medico(MBBS student) and we have only our mother as a parent. So I have no idea what to do with my brother,really worried. His behaviour has worsened day by day. Need some help.

  23. Casa Palmera Staff

    Ask him if he would be willing to talk to someone about getting help. That is the first step. It can even be on the phone.

  24. zainab

    really it’s a very useful page … I take many important information about the effects of drugs abuse on teens .. thank u 🙂

  25. Katongo

    Wow lovely information thanks very much…

  26. google

    Having read this I thought it was really informative.
    I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this short article together.

    I once again find myself spending a lot of time
    both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  27. Maka

    this really helped me had to write about what effects it had on teen and my classmates really like it