A Peek Into Reality: Teenage Drug Abuse

Teenage substance abuse is on the rise in the United States.

A high school kid arrives late for math class. They have a flushed complexion and bloodshot eyes. As they sit down and try their best to pay attention, their hands tremble. But it’s useless since they are distracted. They are high on drugs and this particular situation is one that is quickly catching on in American high schools.

In the United States, overdose deaths peaked at 100,000 at the end of a 12-month period that ended in April 2021. The pandemic’s isolationism deteriorated mental health, which led to an increase in overdose deaths. Fentanyl-laced medicines can also be blamed for the current increase in teen overdose deaths, in addition to COVID-19.

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid that is used to alleviate pain; it is 50–100 times stronger than morphine. Due to its potency, the substance carries a considerable risk of addiction and dependence. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) states that an amount exceeding two milligrams is fatal. However, counterfeit medications have been reported to contain up to 5.1 milligrams.In addition to fentanyl, combining medications can lead to overdose and severe drug dependence. Teenage users frequently combine drugs, including alcohol and prescription medications. 

Many people wonder why so many teenagers are gravitating to substance usage in the first place. Drug abuse is commonly used as a coping mechanism for situations that are deemed to be too challenging to handle soberly. Teenagers may experience a wide range of situations, including problems at home, with schoolwork, and their mental health. 

The neurochemistry of the brain can be affected by substances to induce pleasurable experiences. Although the degree of euphoria varies depending on the medication, stress is reduced. These chemicals are very addicting to teenagers because they provide quick and simple access to a relaxing sensation.

Substance use can have substantial short and long-term impacts on your brain at any age. Particularly among teenagers, rapid physical and intellectual development is being stifled by drug use. Substance abuse has a substantial impact on day-to-day activities. On the shorter term end, there is a danger of early onset psychosis, memory problems, significant personality changes, and an increased propensity for reckless behavior.

In addition to escapism, peer pressure and a societal need to fit in can be blamed for addiction. Many teenagers engage in drug usage because others do it. Children who are exposed to drugs at a young age tend to be more affected later on in life. Children who witnessed their parents or other primary caregivers abusing drugs or who themselves first experimented with drugs as young children are considerably more likely to develop substance addictions themselves, according to research from the Smarmore Castle Rehab Clinic.

But how do we stop or help students with drug problems? There are numerous therapy alternatives for quitting that are effective for certain people. Options include counseling, detoxification, rehabilitation, and more, depending on the substances involved and how severe the reliance is. For teenagers who are battling addiction, there are many different support options available. 

Utilizing those support resources is the first step. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline can be called, as can contacting a counselor online or in person, as well as joining a support group. As interest in the subject increases, so does conversation. That must continue if the crisis is to be slowed.