According to a recent study, 11.7% of 8th graders have smoked marijuana – with the number rising to over 35% by the 12th grade. Alcohol use has similar statistics: approximately 37.4% of 12th graders had admitted to drinking in the month prior to the survey. The numbers show a frightening trend – with over a third of the students drinking and smoking marijuana (the two primary offenders), it is clear that drug and alcohol use in teens is not taken as a serious issue by many high schoolers.
It’s Not “Just Weed”
Perhaps the biggest concern with drug and alcohol use in teens is the fact that it can seem “cool” and not as dangerous as it really is. After years of being told that a drop of nicotine can kill a horse, only too many teenagers are shocked to discover that a drink of alcohol may seem pleasurable. With friends pressuring each other into drinking and smoking more, drug and alcohol use in teens can become a habit. Similarly, a teenager might be going through a stressful period – and turn to drugs for solace. Whatever the case, the end result is the same: drug and alcohol use in teens can lead to serious consequences.
First, there is the toll drugs take on the body. Contrary to the popular argument that marijuana is the “healthy” alternative to cigarettes, the truth remains that marijuana smoke contains many unpleasant chemicals including ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, and formaldehyde. Moreover, prolonged use has shown to change the structure of the brain, with the difference especially pronounced in teenagers. Alcohol is even worse – prolonged use can cause severe liver damage in the long run, as well as be extremely dangerous if too much is consumed. Second, drug and alcohol use in teens causes changes in behavior. From reckless actions, such as driving while impaired, to poor performance in school, drug and alcohol use in teens can result in problems that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
The most important thing to do if your child is showing signs of drug and alcohol abuse is to help them before it is too late.
Discover Seven Stars can help your teen work through their struggles. For more information about Seven Stars, please call 844-601-1167.