Kids Using Drugs

Kids Using Drugs

In the United States alone, 19.9 million people over the age of 12 are using illegal drugs [1]. When it comes to underage drinking, 16 percent of eighth graders and 29 percent of 10th graders are guilty [2]. In 2008, a full quarter of all 12th graders had used an illegal drug other than marijuana in the last month, with Vicodin and inhalants being popular choices. While this is a decline from 1997 by 5 percent, the dangers of kids using drugs remains alarmingly high.

The Effects of Early Drug Use on Children

Drug abuse is never good. But when it comes to the developing minds of children, the dangers are even more Kids Using Drugspronounced. Indeed, the average age of first use for marijuana is 14, with alcohol use beginning even earlier [3] — crucial points in a child’s physical and social development. Some of the major dangers of kids using drugs include:

  • Teens who use drugs have difficulty paying attention, even when not under the influence.
  • Those who begin smoking marijuana at a younger age have lower IQs later in life [4].
  • Marijuana smoking teens are four times as likely to become pregnant [5].
  • One in four sexually active teens reports that they had unprotected sex while under the influence [6].
  • In this same group, slightly less than half report that they might do things they are not otherwise comfortable with while under the influence [7].
  • Half of all fatal teen car crashes involve alcohol [8].
  • Inhalants can cause permanent brain damage, which is of particular to concern for adolescents, whose brains are still developing.
  • Approximately half of all alcoholics began drinking in their teens, suggesting a strong correlation between early substance abuse and later substance addiction [9].
  • Accidental and deliberate fatalities related to drug abuse are one of the leading preventable causes of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24.

These facts remind us that there is a wide array of serious consequences related to kids using drugs.

How to Protect Your Kids From Substance Abuse

While it’s an increasingly dangerous world, you can protect your kids from substance abuse. The Drug Enforcement Agency recommends the following to parents [10]:

  • Stay involved in your kids’ lives all through school. This forms a crucial bond that lets them know you’re there for them and that develops the self-esteem necessary to avoid drugs.
  • Start talking about substance abuse at a young age. You don’t need to have a big sit-down talk, but you can create “teachable moments” that drive the message home.
  • Keep an eye on your kids. Know what they’re doing, who they’re doing it with and when they’re going to be home. This communicates to your kids that you are paying attention.
  • Know what drug abuse looks like. If you can recognize the signs and symptoms of kids using drugs, you can act quickly if your child has fallen into substance abuse.

Helping children avoid the temptation of drugs does not require anything extreme or too far out of the ordinary. Understanding the effects and implications of kids using drugs is the first major step. Then, parents must adhere to common sense principles of parenting that go a long way toward keeping children healthy and focused.


[1] “Child and Adolescent Mental Illness and Drug Abuse Statistics | American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.” Child and Adolescent Mental Illness and Drug Abuse Statistics | American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

[2] “Teen Drug Abuse Symptoms, Causes, Treatment – What Are Some Adolescent Drug Use Statistics? on MedicineNet.” MedicineNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

[3] “Survey Reveals Shocking Levels of Teen Drinking, Drug Abuse.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

[4] Boyles, Salynn. “Pot Use in Teen Years May Lower IQ, Study Shows.” WebMD. WebMD, 27 Aug. 2012. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

[5] “Drugs and Sex.” Teen Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

[6] “Drugs and Sex.” Teen Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

[7] “Drugs and Sex.” Teen Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

[8] “Drugs and Sex.” Teen Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

[9] “Survey Reveals Shocking Levels of Teen Drinking, Drug Abuse.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

[10] “DEA – Get Smart About Drugs – A Resource for Parents from the DEA.” Get Smart About Drugs. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

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