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Teens and Drugs – What a Parent Needs to Know

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The use of recreational drugs and overdoses from opioids like heroin and fentanyl are rising among teens. Parents can be of significant help to a teen battling addiction only when they have the facts and know the effective options. Just saying no doesn’t work.

First, you must recognize the signs of addiction. Then you must know the age-appropriate treatment options based on scientific evidence. There is always hope for success when you can find the care your teen needs.

Teen Challenges

Even the most popular teenager feels pressure to fit in. In addition to dealing with new turbulent emotions and trying to find their identities as adults, they often find the sources of comfort they had as children no longer available. Some turn to drugs and alcohol.

In a recent paper published by NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse), statistics reveal that nearly 70 percent of high school students will have experimented with alcohol, and 50 percent with an illegal drug. More than one in five will have used a prescription drug for a non-prescribed purpose.

Parents need to know any teen can get an opiate through friends or just raiding the medicine cabinet. Parents need to be aware of the risk of opiate abuse.

The Signs of Opiate Abuse

Spotting drug abuse can be difficult because the symptoms of it are very similar to the expected behavior of a normal teen. The mood swings, the changes in personality and the difficulty staying interested in school and extracurricular activities don’t look all that different from normal teen adjustment problems.

Teens are normally secretive and jealous of their privacy. Interests change. Delicately balancing your teen’s need for privacy and your loving concern for his or her safety is tricky. But you must talk with your teen and maintain communication. Teens experiment and may take opiates both out of curiosity and from peer pressure.

Teens and Treatment

What if you discover that your teen has gotten him or herself into a drug habit that is negatively impacting their life? The good news is that help is available.

We know a lot more about substance abuse and addiction than we did a generation ago. Teens need age-appropriate care, which is not the same as for adults. Drug use – even prescription drug use – in adolescence can impact normal brain growth and development.

Some of the compounding effects of drug use on the teenage brain involve memory and concentration, which impacts school performance and social development. When they fall behind, there is no time to catch up before college and adult responsibilities fall upon them. They start from behind in life with a brain that will have to struggle with things that come easy to a normal person.

You must act quickly to avoid permanent consequences.

A simple search of the Internet will reveal clinics that specialize in drug addiction treatment, but be sure you find one that knows how to effectively manage the adolescent patient.

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