Informed Families Catalyst

Why Do Teens Use Drugs?

Posted by Informed Families on July 5, 2022 at 8:00 AM

The teen years are times of turbulence when their bodies are changing radically, and their brains are pulling them away from the security of the family they’ve known their whole lives in preparation for living life as an independent adult.

teen drugs

They’re constantly questioning themselves and their choices: Am I good enough? Will my peers accept me? Can I make it on my own? 

While it’s not always possible to predict what makes a teen turn to drugs, there are some early warning indicators that parents can watch out for, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

The teen years are a time to explore and learn more about themselves as they approach adulthood, including experimenting and testing their boundaries. The desire to do something new or risky is a normal part of teen development, the DEA emphasizes.

They may use drugs or alcohol to:

  • relieve boredom
  • feel good
  • forget their troubles and relax
  • satisfy their curiosity
  • ease their pain
  • feel grown-up
  • show their independence
  • belong to a specific group

There are certain risk factors that may increase the likelihood that a teen will use drugs, the DEA says. The more risk factors present, the more likely they may be to use drugs and develop problems.

Risk factors include:

  • low grades or failure in school
  • victim of bullying or cyberbullying
  • low self-esteem
  • permissive parenting
  • parent’s or older sibling’s drug or alcohol use
  • living in a community with a high tolerance for smoking, drinking, or drug use among youth
  • attending a school without strict rules for tobacco, alcohol, or drugs
  • the belief that there is little risk in using a drug

It’s important to know that these influences can be offset by many of the essential components that Informed Families has been advocating for 40 years.

These include:

  • a strong bond with a parent or caregiver
  • high self-esteem
  • parent or caregiver who regularly talks with their child about drugs
  • active in faith-based organizations, school, athletic, or community activities
  • spending time around positive role models
  • living in a community that offers youths activities where drugs and alcohol are not tolerated
  • attending a school with an effective alcohol and drug education program
  • the belief that using drugs may be harmful or risky

With the combined efforts of parents, schools, and the community, we can keep kids safe from drugs!

Topics: parenting, teenagers, children, teens, social media, drugs

About Us

We teach people how to say no to drugs and how to make healthy choices. To reduce the demand for drugs, Informed Families has focused its efforts on educating and mobilizing the community, parents and young people in order to change attitudes. In this way we counteract the pressures in society that condone and promote drug and alcohol use and abuse. The organization educates thousands of families annually about how to stay drug and alcohol free through networking and a variety of programs and services .

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