Studies show that teens are not using illegal drugs as they did in the last years. But an interesting fact is that they are vaping more than in the past. Nowadays young people highly use inhalants and electronic cigarettes. The Monitoring the Future survey shows some good news for the ones who are concerned about young people having drug addictions. The survey is taken annually because it has the purpose to identify the tendencies in illegal drugs use. The number of teens who are using illegal drugs is in a continuous descent. This survey focused on students in the 8th, 10th and 12th grades and their use of drugs. The participants to the survey come from both private and public schools. The survey registers the tendencies in alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and other substances use. Students from both private and public schools show a fading interest in illegal drugs. They are still using marijuana and inhalants, but some of the young people who are using marijuana have a prescription for it, because they need it for medical purposes.
Teens and opioids
If it were to compare the statistics with the ones from 10 years ago, we would easily notice that the number of teens who are using opioid pain medications is lower nowadays. The survey shows that the 12th graders are the only ones who are using prescription opioids. During the past year, only 4% of students were misusing prescription opioids or pain medication. If in 2004 10% of the young people were misusing pain medication and opioids, nowadays their number dropped dramatically. In 2004, 1 in 10 young people had misused pain medication and prescription opioids. 2018 is officially the one with the lowest number of teens making drug abuses.
The teens from 2004 are the adults from the present, so there is no surprise that they are the ones who are leading the drug overdose epidemic the world is facing right now. The rehabilitation centers and the disease control institutions state that the number of people who are facing fatal episodes caused by drug abuse is higher than ever. The adults who are from 25 to 40 year are the victims of this drug overdose epidemic.
Specialists state that when a person starts using drugs in their adolescence or even earlier, the risk of developing an addiction is higher, than for the persons who start consuming drugs when they are already adults. More than 80% of the teens who are misusing drugs before they turn 14 years have the risk to develop a substance use disorder in the following 5 years. The fact that the persons who are now adults are the ones who are affected by the drug overdose epidemic is the direct consequence of the fact that they have started misusing drugs when they were adolescents.
The adolescents from the present have fewer chances to become drug addicts, because there are organized prevention campaigns supported by educational programs. The decline is considered the result of the education strategies used lately and the prevention programs that are targeting the use of prescription opioid drugs.
Numerous opioids are prescribed to adolescents if they are experiencing health issues like wisdom teeth removal, surgeries, or sports injuries. But, it is important both parents and teens to understand that these painkillers are addictive, even if they are legally prescribed. Four weeks are enough for a teen to develop a physical addiction to pain medication. However, the psychological addiction can appear in no more than two days, so even if a doctor prescribes these drugs, their use should be closely monitored by a specialist, especially when the patient is an adolescent.
Teens and alcohol
The number of teens who are having more drinks in a row in a short period is the same as the one from the last years. But it is important to note that the percent of adolescents who are having an alcohol addiction dropped dramatically from 1990, when alcohol abuse reached its peak.
Even if the rates are lower than in the 18th century, a great number of adolescents misuse alcohol. Statistics show that they misuse alcohol more than other substances that can lead to addictions. One of the causes is that teens have access to alcohol at home. Even if they cannot purchase it, they can easily convince someone to do it for them. Alcohol is readily available and adolescents can obtain it easier than other substances.
It is important to note that nowadays teens have access to rehabilitation centers that can offer them support to overcome their addictions. Luxury holistic drug rehabs focus on the individual’s well-being and they have the purpose to treat the physical symptoms of addiction and withdrawal. They only have to seek help.
Around 65% of adolescents state that they have consumed alcohol at least once in their life. Around 20% of teens state that they have drunk alcohol before they turned 14 years. Every year around 200,000 young people are going to the hospital because they experience injuries related to alcohol use.
Alcohol is the cause that leads to the deaths of around 4,500 teens every year because they experience drowning, falls, alcohol poisoning, homicides and even suicide.
Can we stop this?
The fact that fewer teens are having a drug addiction is one of the greatest news we can get this year, but it is not yet the moment to celebrate and stop the prevention programs. It is important prevention programs and rehabilitation organizations to continue to exist, and to be established new ones that target not only alcohol and illegal drugs, but also vaping and marijuana. Marijuana consumption is more popular than cigarette smoking nowadays, and the number of people who are using it is in a continuous rise. Also, the teens who are vaping nowadays are at great risk to become cigarette smokers in the future, because they are becoming nicotine addicted.
Adolescents understand the risks associated with drugs misuse and addictions, but they are not aware of the risks they expose themselves by using inhalants, weed and electronic cigarettes. Understanding the facts about all these drugs will help them make a smart choice in their life.