November 2018: Helping Adolescents Avoid the Dangers of Substance Use
Although adolescent alcohol and drug use rates continue to decline, prevention and intervention efforts remain critical. Teen brains are more susceptible to addiction than adult brains, and substance use during adolescence can negatively influence development, physical and sexual health, and academic achievement.
Most Commonly Used Substances Among Adolescents
Alcohol and marijuana are the most commonly used substances among adolescents: in 2016, almost one in four high school seniors reported using marijuana in the past month, and one in three reported drinking in the past month in 2017. Although adolescents may not consider marijuana to be as risky as other substances, marijuana use can lead to long-term negative health effects and cognitive problems. Similarly, adolescents who drink alcohol put themselves at risk of long-term consequences like alcohol dependence or chronic diseases.
The Importance of Addressing Substance Use During Adolescence: A TAG Talk
In a new TAG Talk video, Sarah Bagley, M.D., discusses adolescent substance use, addiction, and treatment. Dr. Bagley explores why adolescents and young adults use substances, what risks they face from doing so, and how early intervention can help prevent the short- and long-term risks of substance use. Her presentation also covers trends in adolescent and young adult opioid use, as well as methods of treating opioid use in adolescents. The video is available as a 30-minute presentation, or in short segments covering specific topics. Use the tools below to lead discussions and find additional resources:
- Discussion Guide for Professionals provides tips and resources for using the video in staff meetings, conference sessions, or trainings.
- Discussion Guide for Families is designed for use in school meetings, parenting classes, or community or faith-based settings.
- Additional Resources list features resources on substance use treatment and recovery.
How Adults Can Help
The first step to identifying a substance use disorder is recognizing the warning signs of addiction. These signs can include changes in behavior (such as becoming withdrawn), losing interest in activities an adolescent used to enjoy, or dropping out of school. Parents and other caring adults can help reduce adolescent substance use by:
- Talking early, often, and openly with youth.
- Talking with other parents and adults and seeking family support.
- Modeling responsible behavior.
- Being involved in teens’ lives.
- Seeking professional treatment when needed.
Spread the Word with These Posts
- Substance use during adolescence can negatively influence development, physical and sexual health, and academic achievement. Dr. Sarah Bagley explains why adolescents use drugs and alcohol and how early intervention can help reduce long-term consequences in a new video: https://bit.ly/2q7c8Tv
- Teen brains are more susceptible to addiction than adult brains. In a new video from @TeenHealthGov & @youthdotgov, Dr. Sarah Bagley explains why adolescents use substances and how early intervention can help reduce risks: https://bit.ly/2q7c8Tv #TAG42Mil
- What can parents do when they suspect addiction? Dr. Sarah Bagley discusses the most effective approaches to treating addiction, including opioid addiction: https://bit.ly/2q7c8Tv @TeenHealthGov @youthdotgov #TAG42Mil
Content last reviewed on December 14, 2018