Young people who are beginning to assert their independence can act out in various ways, including drug use. While testing boundaries is a typical part of adolescence, your son might not realize how severely he can jeopardize his health and future by developing a substance use disorder. Here’s what you should know about teen drug use and what you can do to help prevent your son from getting caught in the dangerous cycle of addiction.
The Consequences of Teen Drug Use
Don’t dismiss adolescent drug use as youthful rebellion or a phase your son will eventually outgrow. Research indicates that even “recreational” drugs like marijuana can bring risks such as early-onset psychosis. Also, it’s crucial to remember that your son’s brain is still developing, and teen drug use can cause severe impairment with his memory, learning, judgment and behavior later in life.
Due to drugs’ effect on brain chemistry, the earlier teens begin using these substances, the more they increase their chances of developing a substance use disorder. As a parent or guardian of a teenager, you can play a crucial role in reducing a young man’s risk of developing a drug problem and the assorted mental and physical health issues that accompany it.
Where Do Teens Get Drugs?
On many campuses nationwide, prescription stimulants such as Adderall are prevalent. While Adderall has a genuine benefit for people managing conditions such as ADHD, there is also a misconception that it can improve students’ academic or athletic performance. This drug is fairly easy for some teens to obtain and use without a legitimate prescription, which can create a dependence.
Many teens can also find dangerous drugs such as opioids or benzodiazepines in their home medicine cabinet. A parent who receives a prescription for short-term relief of pain or anxiety may not take their full course of medication, leaving the door open for a curious teenager to experiment with these highly addictive drugs.
How to Start the Conversation
If you have reason to suspect your son is using drugs, it’s essential to talk to him about it as soon as possible. Early intervention from a caring adult can prevent a worsening addiction. While it can be uncomfortable to confront your child about drug abuse, it’s far better to speak up than to continue tacitly enabling an addiction by not getting involved.
First, make sure your son understands the dangers of experimenting with addictive substances at any age, but especially in the teen years. Let him know he has your unconditional love and support, and that you are here to help him through this crisis. If you have a supply of prescription medicine such as Valium in your home, keep it locked away, and emphasize that it is illegal and risky to use someone else’s physician-prescribed medication.
Adolescent Addiction Recovery
It can be terrifying to discover your son is experimenting with drugs, but at ARCH Academy, we offer a solution that can benefit your whole family. We have specifically designed our programming for young men aged 14 through 18, with an academically focused environment that also emphasizes experiential therapy through adventure.
Through individual, group and family therapy, your son will learn the tools necessary for overcoming a dependence on drugs and reclaiming his full potential in life. Contact us today to learn more about what we offer.