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Drug Abuse in Teens: Statistics, Risks, and How to Recognize Signs of Use

Holle is a retired English teacher. She is a freelance writer and mother and enjoys writing helpful pieces on motherhood topics.

Teenage Drug Use: Risks, Statistics, and Signs to Look For

Teenage Drug Use: Risks, Statistics, and Signs to Look For

Is My Teenager Using Drugs?

The topic of drug abuse has been explored for years, but I’m going to concentrate on drug abuse in teens here. This subject is one that holds my interest for several reasons:

  • I taught high school students for years, so I’ve seen what drug abuse can do to young people.
  • My own children had a few scrapes with substance abuse when they were younger. They had friends who ended up as addicts, too.
  • I have nine grandchildren who will be teenagers in a few years, and, of course, I’m already worrying about them.

I’ve always found drug abuse among teenagers to be especially sad. These young people should be enjoying life instead of dealing with the symptoms of drug abuse. The root of the problem also concerns me. Why do so many teens feel the need to turn to drugs? In this article, I discuss some sobering drug abuse facts that focus especially on drug abuse in teens.

Drug Abuse in Teens

Drug abuse in teens can be serious business, and it can have devastating consequences. Of course, the risks depend on the type and frequency of the substance abuse. There’s a big difference between a teen who might take a couple of hits off a joint at a party from time to time and one who has a crack addiction. Perhaps you see all illegal substances as being equal, but I don’t. Some drugs are simply much more addictive than others, and some have more devastating consequences than others.

Unfortunately, I’ve found that many parents are “in the dark” about teenage drug abuse. They don’t realize how prevalent illegal drugs are in most American towns and cities. I live in a small town in South Georgia, and I assure you that I could obtain any illegal substance I might want in just a few minutes, at any given time. Our high school periodically has unannounced visits and searches done by drug enforcement and drug-sniffing dogs, and rarely do they come up empty-handed. This never failed to amaze me when I was teaching. I mean, the students knew that the drug dogs might show up at any time, yet the kids still felt the need to bring drugs to school. What were they thinking?

Here in the deep South, a lot of emphasis is placed on “coming from a good family," but drug abuse knows no boundaries. I have news for you: Drugs don’t care how “good” your family is! It can affect any child, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socio-economic group. Check out the drug abuse statistics below.

Teenage Drug Abuse Statistics

If you’re a parent of a teenager, I hope you take these drug abuse statistics to heart.

  • 21% of 8th graders have tried drugs recreationally at least once.
  • More than a third of teens in the U.S. report having smoked pot in the past year.
  • One in ten have used amphetamines, and about 4% have tried huffing.
  • More than 5% reported using cocaine in the previous twelve months.
  • By 12th grade, 62% of teenagers have abused alcohol.
  • Only a third of teens are aware of the dangerous side effects associated with ecstasy or MDMA.
  • Over 11% of overdose deaths are aged 15 to 24 years.

What’s even scarier, however, is the easy availability of illegal drugs.

  • Close to 90% of teens know where to get pot quickly, and almost 50% know how to obtain cocaine.
  • Four out of ten teenagers know where they can turn for crack, and almost three in ten know where they can get crystal meth.
  • Most teenagers don't even have to leave the house to get drugs, as they can use the internet to have them delivered.

These drug abuse statistics and findings should serve as an eye-opener to parents everywhere.

Which Drugs Do Teenagers Use Most?

Today, the most common drugs used by teens are alcohol, marijuana, stimulants, painkillers/prescription drugs, cocaine, and Spice/K2, a synthetic marijuana. Below, you will find information and statistics about each of these drugs:

  • Marijuana (Cannabis)
  • Psilocybin (Mushrooms)
  • Inhalants (Huffing)
  • Bath Salts (Synthetic Cathinones)
  • Crack
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy (Molly or MDMA)
  • Crystal Meth (Methamphetamine)

Each of these is described in detail below.

Marijuana Addiction in Teens

I read recently that more American teenagers smoke more pot now than tobacco. In fact, teenage marijuana use has never been higher. I don’t have a real problem with adults smoking marijuana, but I don’t think kids should do it, particularly because their brains are still developing and cannabis does have long-term effects on the brain.

Problems can arise with marijuana addiction.Marijuana is less addictive than alcohol, tobacco, and heroin, for example. Recent data suggests that about 30% of marijuana users may develop some degree of marijuana use disorder, but studies show that less than 10% of regular users will develop a serious marijuana addiction.

On the other hand, marijuana can be psychologically addictive—more like a pleasurable habit than a physical dependence. This can occasionally cause problems for the user, though. I know two guys who smoke pot several times a day. One has been doing it for decades, and he has absolutely no ambition. He’s very intelligent and talented and had the chance to attend college but didn’t. He doesn’t have a regular job, and he doesn’t want one. He does odd jobs here and there—earning just enough to barely scrape by. However, the other daily user I know is a hard worker. He has a full-time job and works overtime whenever it’s offered.

Can the first guy’s lack of ambition be blamed on marijuana addiction? It's possible. I really don’t know for sure.

But another problem with marijuana addiction is that it’s an illegal substance in most states. If you’re caught with less than an ounce, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. For more than an ounce, you’ll get a more serious charge. And it's always illegal for teenagers to possess.

Many employers also do drug testing now, for potential employees and for people already employed by the business. If random drug tests show marijuana use, the employee can be fired immediately. In this present economy, losing a job can be devastating.

Psilocybin (Mushrooms)

Where I live, drug abuse in teens includes psilocybin mushrooms. The “magic mushrooms” grow wild, usually around cow manure. We’re surrounded by cattle pastures, so kids can find the ‘shrooms easily, and even better, they’re free.

Psilocybin is a psychedelic drug that causes hallucinations and a high that can last for several hours. The high isn’t always pleasant, however. “Bad trips” can cause paranoia, anxiety attacks, and disturbing and even frightening sensory images. Of course, there’s also the potential of choosing very poisonous mushrooms by mistake, too.

Magic mushrooms are usually made into tea. Methods for making the tea vary, and it can even be made with a standard drip coffee maker.

According to research, small amounts of psilocybin mushrooms don’t cause as much physical damage as many other recreational drugs, but occasionally, troubling effects can recur much later.

Huffing (Inhalants)

I’ve never known any adults who abused inhalants, but I have known several kids who engaged in huffing. This includes teens and even pre-teens.

Huffing involves breathing in the propellants used in aerosol sprays. These are sometimes soaked into a rag or cloth and breathed in, inhaled directly from the spray can or other containers, or by using plastic over the mouth in order to concentrate the vapors. The inhalants cause various effects including hallucinations, a feeling of well-being, and/or a psychedelic effect. Sometimes huffing results in a feeling similar to being drunk.

Huffing can be an extremely dangerous form of drug abuse. Inhaling the solvents and gases can cause:

  • pneumonia
  • lung damage
  • heart attack
  • frostbite
  • muscle spasms
  • loss of hearing
  • damage to the central nervous system
  • cardiac arrest
  • suffocation
  • lead poisoning
  • liver damage
  • carbon monoxide poisoning

Unfortunately, huffing is very accessible. I’d venture to guess that few homes don't have some type of inhalants like those found in aerosol cans and butane lighters.

Bath Salts (Synthetic Cathinones)

The type of bath salts I’m referring to here aren’t the kind you dissolve in your bathwater. I’m talking about the bath salts drug. These small crystals are made from synthetic stimulants like mephedrone, methylone, or methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). Bath salts are usually described as designer drugs, and they’re fairly new to the scene. In some states, they're even legal.

It’s sold under the guise of bath salts, although the packages usually contain a warning that states “not for human consumption.” Bath salts are often chopped and snorted, but they can also be smoked, injected, or taken orally. They mimic amphetamines in effect. They can cause:

  • rapid heart rate
  • high blood pressure
  • liver failure
  • headaches
  • paranoia
  • anxiety attacks
  • kidney failure
  • irritability
  • hallucinations
  • nausea
  • heart attack

Users of bath salts might even become violent and aggressive, and there’s an association with suicide.

Bath Salts Drug Test

A special bath salts drug test is used to detect the chemicals. Regular drug tests don’t reveal their presence.

A mass spectrometer is combined with gas chromatography to identify the substances in explosives, luggage, drugs, and samples from the environment, including soil, water, and air. This type of detailed analysis is often used to identify pollutants, explosives in airports, poisons in forensics, residual ingredients from fires, and harmful substances in foods, beverages, and cosmetics. It’s also the only reliable bath salts drug test, and it works on both urine and hair samples.


Crack addiction is usually devastating. Some experts claim that if you’ve smoked crack more than once, you’re a crack addict. I have no idea if this is true or not, as I’ve never smoked crack. I do, however, personally know teens who became crack addicts.

A close friend of our family got hooked on crack cocaine. I’ll call her “Sue.” Sue was a bright, beautiful young lady from a good family. She was popular and had lots of friends. She and another family friend, Mary, both fell in with the “party crowd,” and both were encouraged to smoke crack at a big bash. Mary never tried it again, but Sue quickly developed a crack addiction. She quit school at the age of seventeen, spent time in jail, and has been in and out of numerous rehabs. She straightened up for a while, got married, and had a baby girl. Unfortunately, she returned to her crack addiction soon after the child was born. She lost custody of her daughter, spent more time in jail, and spent more time in rehabs. The last we heard, she was trading sex for crack in dangerous, drug-infested neighborhoods.

Most crack addicts will do practically anything for another high. They might lie, cheat, and steal to get the money they need for rock. They often have a love-hate relationship with the drug. They feel an overwhelming urge for another high, even if they realize crack has completely taken over their lives. In some cases, they take the drug not only for the high but to prevent terrible withdrawal symptoms. Crack delivers an almost immediate high, which is followed by a very deep low.

Crack Addiction Recovery

Crack addiction recovery is tough. Smoking crack is so pleasurable, and the withdrawal symptoms can be so severe, that it’s very hard to give up the drug.

Sue, the young woman I told you about who has a crack addiction, talked to me about her problem several times. She desperately wants to give up crack, as she knows it’s ruining her life. And I have to give her credit for attempting crack addiction recovery, even though she hasn’t had long-term success. After her various stays in rehabs, she’d do well for a while, but she’s always returned to crack.

Crack addiction recovery is addressed differently by different rehabs. Many treat crack addiction as a disease and attack the problem as such. Some rehabs use a twelve-step program to address the disease, using a variety of methods. These might include morals, personal responsibility, self-esteem, communication skills, and learning to handle negative situations in an effective and positive manner. Unfortunately, most rehabs for crack addiction recovery have a pretty dismal success rate.

A few, however, claim to have a 70% success rate. Most of these rehabs treat the entire person—physically, emotionally, and psychologically—instead of just the crack addiction itself. Most of these rehabs focus on the future instead of the past. They might teach addicts how to think critically, how to control their own future, and how to “fit in” to society and become productive citizens.


I know of only a handful of high school students with a cocaine abuse problem. Cocaine is pretty expensive, so most teens might have trouble affording it on a regular basis. A cocaine addiction can cost more than $1,000 a day.

They say a cocaine high isn’t as fast or as pleasurable as a crack high, and that snorting cocaine not as addictive as smoking the rock form of cocaine. Cocaine abuse can still be dangerous, however, and it can also be extremely addictive. This has been proven many times with laboratory animals. When the animals can dispense the drug themselves, they do it over and over again, sometimes neglecting to eat and drink water.

Cocaine is a white powder that’s usually snorted through a straw. The powder is cut up with a razor blade and divided into thin lines. The user sticks a short section of a drinking straw into his nose and snorts a line of the powder through a nostril. Usually, another line is snorted into the other nostril. Cocaine is a stimulant that affects a chemical in the brain called “dopamine.” Dopamine provides a rush of pleasurable sensations.

Cocaine abuse can be dangerous, even deadly, because it constricts blood vessels and increases heart rate. It also causes blood pressure to increase—sometimes dramatically. Heart attacks and strokes sometimes result—some lethal. Cocaine abuse can also cause damage to the inside of the nose, including holes in tissues. Frequent nose bleeds can also occur.

Cocaine Addiction Symptoms

Cocaine addiction symptoms vary from user to user. Some of the most common include animation, excessive talking, headache, loss of appetite, and dizziness. Other cocaine addiction symptoms include frequent sniffling, sores or bleeding inside the nose, dilated pupils, shortness of breath, chest pain, and the overuse of nasal decongestants. Cocaine addicts may also be desperate for money, as the habit isn’t cheap.

Cocaine addiction symptoms are often more evident when the user has to go without the drug for a time. They might become very restless and irritable, experience severe headaches, or suffer bouts of depression. They might also experience sleep-related problems—sleeping too much or having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. They might have scary, detailed nightmares, too.

Fatigue is another frequently seen symptom. What goes up must come down, and there’s always a crash after the high.

If you find pills, they might be stimulants, painkillers/prescription drugs, MDMA, or hallucinogens.

If you find pills, they might be stimulants, painkillers/prescription drugs, MDMA, or hallucinogens.

Ecstasy (Molly or MDMA)

Ecstasy was a problem in the high school where I taught. The real name of the drug is methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine. You see why the name was shortened to MDMA or ecstasy. It’s also called “molly,” “mandy,” “sweeties,” “the love drug,” “skittles,” “beans,” “E bomb,” “Scooby snacks,” and “the hug drug.”

Ecstasy is usually taken in the form of small tablets. By the time they graduate from high school, about 6% of teens have tried MDMA.

Taking ecstasy delivers a feeling of inner happiness and a sense of peace and tranquility. It also improves self-confidence during the high. It’s often called the love drug or the hug drug because it increases the desire for intimacy. MDMA often makes the user feel more alert and more in control of otherwise anxious situations.

Teenage drug abuse with MDMA is often done at parties, from what I’ve seen and heard. In the United States, ecstasy is pretty cheap. Sometimes a group of teens will split an “order” to reduce the cost of individual pills. In that case, the MDMA pills can cost as little as four or five bucks each.

The high usually lasts for a couple of hours, so teens see it as a good value. Of course, they’re not taking into consideration all the possible damage the “happy pills” are doing to their bodies.

MDMA can cause:

  • insomnia
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • teeth grinding
  • hallucinations
  • vertigo
  • anxiety attacks
  • paranoia
  • heart palpitations
  • trouble concentrating
  • pulmonary hypertension
  • heart damage
  • stroke
  • loss of consciousness
  • heart arrhythmia
  • shortness of breath

MDMA abuse can also result in organ failure, hemorrhage, and coma. Death has also occurred from MDMA abuse.

Crystal Meth

Crystal meth is the term often used for methamphetamine when it’s in crystal form. The white crystals are usually smoked, but they can also be snorted, swallowed, or made into a suppository. In some cases, the meth is dissolved and delivered via a needle.

Crystal meth provides a high that can last for more than ten hours, and the substance is highly addictive. Teenage drug abuse sometimes includes crystal meth because it’s fairly easy to make, even though the process itself can be very dangerous.

Other names for crystal meth are “ice,” “chalk,” “glass,” “blade,” “tina,” “yaba,” “shabu,” “stovetop,” “shards,” “ventana,” “christy,” and “quartz.” Most of the teenagers around here, however, use the term “crank” to describe crystal meth, and I've overheard numerous conversations about the substance.

In the 1990s, crystal meth was a huge problem in our community, but it seems to have decreased in the past few years. Crystal meth labs in our town were being “busted” on a regular basis, and the reports appeared in the daily newspaper. I don’t see nearly as many instances now, though, so either the manufacture and use of crystal meth are decreasing, or the makers are getting better at hiding their labs.

Crystal Meth Addiction

Crystal meth addiction is sometimes easy to identify.

One typical sign is “meth mouth,” which includes rotting and missing teeth.

Crystal meth addiction might also cause weight loss, profuse sweating, nausea, insomnia, hyperactivity, constant opening and closing of the mouth, irritability, mental confusion, increased sex drive, feelings of euphoria, increased alertness, tremors, and teeth grinding.

More serious symptoms of crystal meth addiction can include high blood pressure, increased heart rate, blood vessel constriction, and high blood glucose. Too much meth at one time can result in kidney failure, brain damage, and muscle atrophy. An overdose can even result in heart attack, stroke, and death.

Symptoms of Drug Abuse

Some symptoms of drug abuse are specific to the type of substance used, but some are more general and more universal to all substances. Parents who pay close attention can usually tell when something is wrong, although they might not suspect drug abuse—at least, not at first. I think some parents just don’t want to entertain the possibility that their children might be doing drugs. After these parents exhaust every other possibility, they might eventually admit to themselves that drugs could be involved.

Some parents are simply too naïve, and I’ve seen this time and time again. I remember when one of my summer school students was caught at school with crack, and his parents were in complete denial. His mom told me that she couldn’t believe her son would do such a thing, saying, “Why, he just recently wrote a research paper about drug abuse!” I wanted to say that perhaps he was writing from personal experience, but I didn’t.

Below are some common signs of drug abuse to look for:

  • Depression
  • Change in personality
  • Moodiness
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sleep
  • Irritability
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Short periods of increased appetite
  • Violence
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Distance from family and old friends
  • An extreme need for privacy
  • Falling grades
  • Lack of ambition
  • Fatigue
  • Teeth grinding
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Lack of motivation
  • Listlessness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle spasms
  • Frequent headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Paraphernalia (see photo gallery below)

Drug Testing for Teens

As I’ve already mentioned, and as you surely already know, drug testing is done randomly and periodically on employees at many businesses and government offices. What you might not know, however, is that drug testing is also sometimes done in schools. I’ve seen several drug tests given to suspected students in our high school. In fact, one of my favorite students was expelled after failing a urine test.

There are several types of drug tests. These include analyses of urine, blood, hair, sweat, or saliva.

Can You "Cheat" a Drug Test?

The most common drug tests are done via urine, and these are the easiest to “cheat.” Those with substance abuse problems sometimes obtain drug-free urine from family members or friends. They sometimes place it in a small bottle and keep it near their body to keep it warm. Sometimes they might wrap the bottle of urine in a hand-warmer.

There are also substances that can be taken to mask the results. These can be used if the user knows in advance about upcoming drug tests.

Giving Home Drug Tests to Your Teen

Some parents use a home drug test on their teenage children when they suspect drug abuse. A home drug test is also frequently used when a teen is recovering from substance abuse, as a way to monitor his progress. A home drug test is fairly inexpensive, and some are very accurate.

Keep in mind, however, there are some negative repercussions from using a home drug test on your teenager. If the child is innocent, your drug testing can result in broken trust. The young person might feel that his personal privacy has been unfairly violated.

On the other hand, if you’re pretty sure that your child is using illegal substances, you need to find out for sure. That way, you can get him or her some much-needed help.

Home Drug Test:


Rehabs are not fun for anyone, but they’re often necessary to end drug abuse and to allow the user to lead a normal life. I’ve had family members and friends who have spent time in rehabs, and they shared their experiences with me. Obviously, a drug rehab center removes the user from his current situation. They can’t obtain drugs in the center. They're also separated from peer pressure and from the “wrong crowd.”

What Happens in Rehab?

A typical day in most rehabs includes group sessions, individual counseling, lectures, meals, snacks, and breaks. Some rehabs use specific therapies like art, family therapy, and role-playing. Skills that involve coping, communication, and work might be included, too. During free time, patients might have the opportunity to engage in sports, games, arts and crafts, and other activities.

Good rehabs aren’t cheap, and that includes the ones for drug abuse in teens, but your health insurance provider might cover most of the costs. This depends, of course, on your specific policy and the type of treatment you seek. It might also depend on other methods that have already been tried but failed. If you don’t have health insurance, or if your health insurance provider doesn’t cover drug rehabilitation, the facility might be willing to work with you. Some centers offer payment plans. Drug rehab centers are the best way to combat drug abuse and addiction. It’s extremely difficult and often impossible to tackle such a huge problem without professional help and guidance. If drug abuse in teens has hit home with you and your family, seek help as soon as possible.

To Learn More

List of Physical Signs to Look For: For a list of physical signs to look for on your teenager (like appetite, acne, dilated pupils, and more), read What Signs to Look for to Know If Your Child Is Taking Drugs.

Reasons for Teenage Distress: To understand if and why your teenager might be upset, read Causes of Conflict Between Parents and Teenagers.

A Mother's Story of Her Child's Drug Abuse: To read a mother's firsthand account of her son's drug and alcohol problems.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Rum Tan from Singapore on June 13, 2016:

Great article. Reading this made me thankful that Singapore has strict capital punishment for drug traffickers.

"We are not drug tolerant. We are drug-free."

Jomana H on April 24, 2015:

perfect hub

Keisha Hunter from Kingston, Jamaica on November 10, 2014:

Wow! I didn't know half these drugs street names! Thanks for sharing.

Blanche Cleveland from Alaska on October 26, 2014:

Its not only the drug dealers i grew up in a small village that have a majority of youth using Marijuana and alcohol. They have seen this through the years its sad how much they see

Kelly from NJ, USA on October 24, 2014:

Most communities offer free support groups to help an individual who truly wishes to help a person they know on drugs. Each person is an individual, so each person experiencing drug addiction, or the related problems of being on drugs needs an individual treatment plan. Just as all people are different, all different solutions work, and all the reasons that drug use was started are different. Drug dealers aren't nice, they are very cagey, and it's very easy for a teen to fall prey, and getting away can't be easy.

Maggie.L from UK on September 09, 2014:

What an informative hub. There really is everything parents of teens need to know about drugs here.

Anniemitch on August 13, 2013:

My Stepkids were going to Walmart and drug stores to steal cold medicine capsules they called "Triple C's". Apparently you "trip"on them when you take 10-20 pills--sort of like a "Robotrip" with Robitussin kids used to do back when I was in school.

The kids looked like zombies, were sick and one of their friends looked like he was suffering a stroke because half his face appeared numb, his arm was limp and he was blinking slowly on one side. This was all after I couldn't sleep and stayed awake just to catch them coming upstairs to bust them. One was jumping around like a monkey on a bed and they all were ill after my husband and I called the police and friends parents.

Triple C's and spice are terrible and could potentially kill. Increases heart rate, blood pressure, hallucinations and vomiting.

Staying on their @$$ about it kept them away because I was watching them like a hawk---but I know they've been on to opiates and LCD and many other drugs. It's sad and didn't look enjoyable.

My stepson's best friend just passed away this June after a two week coma because of using Suboxone (opiate blocker) and drinking alcohol. He was a sweet kid at only 19, and had a lot to offer being an incredible animal lover---now he's gone. I don't think this taught my stepson to quit using. He seems to try anything he can get his hands on.

Michael Pridemore from Lexington, Ky on July 08, 2013:

Great Hub!!

victor on May 24, 2013:

Highly informative

Ginny McLeod from Overland Park on May 23, 2013:

Congrats on Hub of the day. Thanks for pointing out that all addiction is not equal. Overall, I consider myself to be very fortunate to have gone through a school system that's very big on attempting to get the message through about drugs but they basically preached that even marijuana was all-bad and that all addiction was equal. This is not to say that I'm naïve about its psychological addiction in some cases but personally, I'm waiting for the rest of this country to legalize marijuana. Did you know that Drew Barrymore is the only celeb who has ever been known to actually be "addicted" to the stuff?

I'm also very aware of the danger of the hardcore stuff like meth. I once personally knew someone who was addicted to it for almost all of this teen years-from the time he was 12 until he was 17-and even joined the same gang he first bought from and was with them that whole time. He told me that it was hearing of a case of a father who had killed both himself and his kids while high on meth that finally motivated him to quit so he took the share of the money he made from his last drug sale, quit cold turkey and ran away from the gang never looking back. During my college days, I also knew someone else who had been formerly addicted to coke, it enlarged his heart and he almost passed away from it, he quit cold turkey when he got his fiancé pregnant with their daughter and was one of the most devoted dads I've met yet.

I think it's unfortunate that so many parents are in denial but I think it's even more so that kids are not taught this stuff at early ages. My boyfriend and I are planning to teach our future children about this stuff starting when they're very young.

Melody Collins from United States on May 21, 2013:

It is normal for many parents to be in denial over their own children. There are many who think it would never happen to their children. Denial is a hard beast to fight. Hopefully your hub will help parents in this situation.

bradley brown from Harrow Middlesex on May 19, 2013:

Fab HUB habee, Parents need to be vigilant with their kids looking out for all the signals of drink drug abuse.

SandCastles on May 18, 2013:

And some of the music out there seems to promote getting drunk (and I don't know about drugs but probably there are lyrics that encourage that too).

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on May 18, 2013:

This is an article that is packed with useful information. I think every parent should be aware of issues like this, because drug abuse can happen in any circle, to any type of person.

In Massachusetts you have to be at least 18 (and show an i.d.) in order to buy spray paint, because there have been enough cases of abuse of it.

Thanks for sharing all of this information, and I hope it is valuable to many people.

Congrats on HOTD! It is well-deserved. It may not be a comfortable topic to discuss, but it is very important.

Abdus Salam from Bangladesh on May 18, 2013:

@ habee - thanks for great hub and congratulations for you hub on hub of the day!! :)

Jami Johnson from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont. on May 18, 2013:

This is a very informative hub. I had a personal connection with it because I was a teenage drug addict (and so were many of my friends). It was a serious problem that cost some of my friends their lives, some ended up in jail, and some had babies at a young age (I had my daughter at 20 and quit cold turkey when I discovered I was pregnant). I am proud to say that I and many of my friends did get clean, but others are lost. It is truly a sad reality. Drug abuse in teenagers is even bigger an issue because with a lack of income some will develop an addiction to a variety of drugs, and begin to use anything they can get their hands on. Parents need to be aware of all the signs and symptoms and get the help their children need because it is easier to become sober when you are young and have only developed a fresh addiction than when one grows older and have been an addict for years.

Congrats on HOTD, very well deserved.

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on May 18, 2013:

Hey Habee, you've done a great job with this hub.

The drug problem is so wide spread that kids are introduced to this as early as the 6th grade, and usually get hooked all through high school and beyond. A big epidemic indeed.

Monday mornings in our high schools is always a drag as countless students come to school with an obvious hang-over from doing drugs all weekend long. Most sleep through their first and second period classes, while others are so jittery and easily irritable.

Grand-parents medicine cabinets (with prescription pain pills) are becoming increasingly the source of supply. And as you mentioned, many students I've talked to do 'split an order' to make getting the drugs cheaper.

This is a must read for parents and even grandparents of teens. Voted up and useful, and CONGRATS on the HOTD award!

Subhas from New Delhi, India on May 18, 2013:

Hi Habee! You have quite detailed out and almost touched every facets of this ugly side of growing up vulnerably. We should always teach our kids and let them develop their own views about good and bad and keep distance from such environments. Great Hub. Thumbs Up!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 18, 2013:

Mercy, so true! I think I know only one adult who hasn't at least tried illegal drugs. Thanks for the read!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 18, 2013:

Kathy, when I was teaching, I was shocked by how little parents know about drugs in teens. They need to be educated.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 18, 2013:

jklahlou, I was pleasantly surprised to see this hub on drug abuse get Hub of the Day. I agree with you about pot, as I think it's less harmful than alcohol.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 18, 2013:

Patty, that had to be scary! I wasn't aware of pot allergies, so thanks for sharing the info!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 18, 2013:

Rosenbloom, I'll check it out!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 18, 2013:

infinity, I agree with you about pot. It can definitely be beneficial for some health conditions.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 18, 2013:

Wow, Karen, that's a sobering story. I hope you're doing better now.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 18, 2013:

tireless, what's making so many teens turn to dangerous substances? We're somehow failing our young people, and that's sad.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 18, 2013:

Thanks, lightshare!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 18, 2013:

Mohammad, we have some pot smokers here who use the water pipes, too. Thanks for reading!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 18, 2013:

JThomp, thanks for visiting!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 18, 2013:

Mmargie, I worry a lot about my grandkids being faced with drugs when they become teenagers. That's one reason I wrote this hub.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 18, 2013:

Roxanne, thanks for the shares!

Chace from Charlotte, NC on May 18, 2013:

Congratulations on winning HotD! :) the world of drugs is so scary and really sad for teens because they're so easily influenced. Nowadays, it seems like a miracle to meet a person who has never done drugs in his or her entire life. :(

Voted up++

Kathy Sima from Ontario, Canada on May 18, 2013:

Thank you for writing such a detailed and informative article on drug abuse in teens. I think this should be required reading for all parents!

jklahlou on May 18, 2013:

Congratulations for the 'Hub of the Day' :)

Some great information from your personal experiences teaching and with those you know. Feel I know more about drug taking behavior for reading this article!

There are many factors which determine if people use and continue to use drugs though, such as socio-economic status, self-efficacy, personality type, etc.

Marijuana is not that harmful though, and is not very addictive. Alcohol and smoking on the other hand are hugely detrimental, more so than other class A drugs on here if you consider their impact on society and their socially accepted status, for here in the UK alcohol consumption is the social norm and you are therefore encouraged to drink, often to excess.

I really believe in the US professional help in rehabilitation centres should be available for free.

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 18, 2013:

For infinityservant - I am allergic to marijuana and for those who are allergic, it is definitely harmful. My allergy is so severe that I can DIE from exposure to marijuana. Many people are allergic, but less severely.

My first experience was forced inhalation of the smoke of many users as I worked in a college based restaurant during a rock concert right outside the door; and my boss did not believe I was getting sick until I ran to the restroom with uncontrollable vomiting for two hours, along with stabbing pains in the head, difficulty breathing, and reduced vision and hearing, also ringing in the ears and other symptoms.

Doctors later confirmed the allergy; every time I smell marijuana, I vomit. Some research confirming that more people than we might think are allergic to the drug is below, but there are many studies:

West J Med 1983 (June); 183(6):829-831. "Allergic Skin Test Reactivity to Marijuana in the Southwest" ; Geraldine L. Freeman, MD

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology; Volume 119, Issue 1, Supplement , Page S273, January 2007. "Allergy to Marijuana: Case report" S. Perez-Bustamante,M. Vazquez de la torre, A. Villanueva

"IgE-Mediated Hypersensitivity Reactions to Cannabis in Laboratory" Personnel. T. Herzinger, P. Schöpf, B. Przybilla, F. Ruëff. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, Vol. 156, No. 4, 2011

llergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2011 Sep;39(5):271-9. Epub 2011 Jan 26.

"Allergic hypersensitivity to cannabis in patients with allergy and illicit drug users." Armentia A, Castrodeza J, Ruiz-Muñoz P, Martínez-Quesada J, Postigo I, Herrero M, Gonzalez-Sagrado M, de Luis D, Martín-Armentia B, Guisantes JA. Allergy Unit, Rio Hortega University Hospital, Valladolid, Spain.

Thanks for this article, habee. Rated and voted.

Dave from Pompano Beach, FL on February 18, 2013:

Good Article! Hope you check our my Hub... I go into detail on Teen opiate addiction .

infinityservant on November 01, 2012:

One thing to know about pot though, is it's most definitely not harmful, and addiction happens on the probability of being struck by lightning. And I can speak from experience, since I can do it legally for medical reasons. It's a miracle worker. But speaking from experience, you should only have the plant if you know a trusted friend who doesn't inject chemicals. Because those *can* be addictive. Anyway, great article.

Karen on September 17, 2012:

I just want to say a couple things here.I was a homeless teen and it was so hard on me.I had to sleep with one eye open.I was hurt so many times in my sleep being scared and alone on them streets was the hardest thing ever.I was raped kidnapped tied up and beat many times,Had guns to my head talk about a scared little girl i was her.Still today i have nightmares of being kidnapped.If i could change anything in my life it would have been to not ever touch cocaine. I lost my soul and everything i ever loved so not worth it,I COULD TELL YOU TRUE STORY'S THAT WOULD HAVE U SCARED TO EVEN CLOSE YOUR EYES AT NIGHT

Judy Specht from California on August 08, 2012:

This is a must read for parents and grandparents. The most terrible thing about drug abuse in teens is they can get into trouble that is nearly impossible to get out of -drug rings and deadly deals. Marijuana worries me because no one ever talks about the side effects. Chromosome damage, cancer causing agents. My nurse in a clinical trial pointed out that marijuana is a plant that can carry spores of fungus that can get into lungs. Deadly for cancer patients. While marijuana is more acceptable these days the fact that it causes cancer doesn't get around much.

The big worry is how culture is causing kids to run to these things. One of my son's had 15 friends at one time that all had DUI's He won't take any RX that doesn't have his name on it because abuse is so bad in the prescription drug department Great hub.

Lightshare on August 07, 2012:

Terrific informations..

Mohammad.Wasim on August 06, 2012:

Drug abuse increases in every walk of life . It increases very fast in teenagers. The water-pipes become the fashion in young generation and even parents allow them to smoke water-pipe, available in different flavours . But people put drugs like joint and marijuana deliver the eternal happiness. Fast growth of drug consume becomes a great danger in teenagers.

Mmargie1966 from Gainesville, GA on August 06, 2012:

This is such a serious issue, and you offered so much information. What a great hub! It sure is scary facing the reality that our teens are using.

I voted up and interesting.

Roxanne Lewis from Washington on August 05, 2012:

Teenage drug abuse is a very real issue and an extremely big problem! For some reason it doesn't get the attention or education it deserves until the situation is dire. Thank you for writing such an indepth and informative article. I'm sharing this everywhere I can!