Communication is key for preventing teen drug abuse

Confronting teen drug abuse can be a difficult endeavor for parents.  Often, parents are not fully aware of the extent that the teen is using drugs, and the teen is in denial about the impact that their substance abuse is having on their life. All too often, the drug of choice for teens is becoming prescription drugs.  Teen alcohol use also continues to pose a significant risk for today’s youth.   Intervening early and getting help is key to preventing a teen from spiraling into a full blown addiction.  Research shows that parental communication with their teens about drug and alcohol use is vital.  When the communication breaks down, then professional help in the form of family therapy is needed.  Listed below are twelve facts about teen drug use:

1.       More teens die from prescription drugs than heroin/cocaine combined.

2.       More than 60 percent of teens said that drugs were sold, used, or kept at their school.

3.        1 in 9 high school seniors has tried Spice/K2 (synthetic marijuana).

4.       4.  1.3 percent of seniors have used bath salts – which is incredibly disturbing given its adverse side effects.

5.       Young people who drink alcohol are 50 times more likely to use cocaine than teens who never drink.

6.       About 64 percent of teens surveyed who have abused pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives.

7.       In 2012, 15 percent of high school seniors used prescription drugs. However, 35 percent feel regular use is risky.

8.       Around 28 percent of teens know a friend or classmate who has used ecstasy, with 17 percent knowing more than one user.

9.       Adderall use (often prescribed to treat ADHD) has increased among high school seniors from 5.4 percent in 2009 to 7.6 percent.

10.   Only 35 percent of 12th graders believe that using Adderall occasionally is risky.

11.    By the 8th grade, 29.5 percent of adolescents have consumed alcohol, 15.5 percent have smoked cigarettes, and 15 percent have used marijuana.

12.   Teens whose parents talk to them regularly about the dangers of drugs are 42 percent less likely to use drugs than those whose parents don't. However, only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.

13.    6.5 percent of high school seniors smoke daily, up from 5.1 percent five years ago. Meanwhile, only 20.6 percent of 12th graders think occasional use is harmful, while 44 percent see regular use as harmful (lowest numbers since 1983).