Alcohol, cigarettes and illicit drugs are running rampant in the lives of teens across America. When I was a teenager, the majority of my fellow teens either drank alcohol, smoked cigarettes or both. However, back about 10 to 14 years ago during my teen years, the majority of teens tended to do this on a more social level. Today it seems alcohol, cigarettes and illicit drugs are becoming more of a staple in the lives of teens.
"Nearly half of all American high school students smoke, drink alcohol or use illicit drugs, reports WebMD, citing Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. "And one in four who started using these substances before they turned 18 may become addicts."
Some teens may begin using alcohol or illicit drugs or smoking cigarettes socially due to the effects of peer pressure, some may do so due to depression or another mental illness and some may do so out of sheer curiosity. The point is that, the risk is there for every teen. In the state of Ohio alone, five percent of teens ages 12 to 17 experienced illicit drug abuse or dependence and six percent of teens in this same age group experienced alcohol abuse or dependence, according to the National Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University.
Teen drug and alcohol use can lead to a variety of unfavorable situations. Some of these include car accidents, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, accidental drug overdose poor school performance or dropping out of school and criminal activity. All of these can have lifetime consequences for a teenager. They can also greatly impact the lives of others, such as in the case of a teen drinking and then getting in a vehicle and hitting another driver.
In the state of Ohio, prescription drug abuse has become a major problem among teens. "Four of the top five drugs abused by 12th grade Ohio students are prescription drugs, reports the Gateway Rehabilitation Organization. They further state that, "55.3 percent of individuals aged 12 and older who engaged in non-medical use of prescription pain relievers most often obtained them from a friend or relative for free."
If prescription drugs are mixed with alcohol the effects are often intensified and the combination can be dangerous. Side effects of the mixture can include memory problems, drowsiness, problems with breathing or even accidental overdose. There is also the risk for a dangerous drug interaction.
R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen began her career in health care in 2002, when she began nursing school. She is now a full-time medical writer with expertise in a variety of health fields, specifically trauma, public health, cancer, infectious disease, women's health, and research. She combines her education, experience, and passion for health and medicine to influence her writing.
- effects of peer pressure
- Columbia University s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse
- alcohol abuse
- drug overdose
- mental illness