There are numerous reasons why young people use drugs. Past studies in the field of substance abuse consistently show that young people use drugs as a way of “having fun”. Recent studies, however, have shown that many teens take drugs to solve problems. This is imperative for parents to understand because they often underestimate the impact of stress on their loved ones. By appreciating and understanding what motivates them, you can possibly step in and help them find effective ways to deal with their problems.
Top causes of substance abuse
A 2007 PATS Teens study reported that 65 percent of young people use drugs to “feel cool”. It is a well-documented fact that young people’s self-worth depends, almost entirely, on the approval of their peers. A desire for social acceptance can also drive teens to do things that may harm their lives, including abusing drugs. The same study also revealed that teens use drugs to “feel better about themselves”. Other studies have also shown that teens with low self-esteem are likely to seek acceptance from the wrong groups, including those that abuse drugs.
Partnership for a Drug-Free America, in their recent study, reported that the number one reason why teens use drugs is to deal with problems, pressures, and stress at school. Surprisingly, only 7 percent of American parents believe that teens can use drugs to solve problems. The truth is that more than 70 percent of young people who use drugs use them to escape reality. Maybe they are not doing well in school or maybe they feel that they are not appreciated by their teachers.
Studies have shown again and again that teens are widely misinformed about the dangers of substance abuse. As a matter of fact, a whopping 40 percent of teens do not see anything wrong with trying heroin or cocaine once or twice. Another 41 percent of drug abusers believe that it is safer to abuse prescription drugs, as opposed to abusing street drugs, which is not necessarily true.
Most teens use alcohol and drugs because they are easily accessible. In America, for instance, close to 50 percent of teens who use drugs say that it is easy to get marijuana; more than 17 percent note that it is easy to access meth; about 14 percent say it is easy to get heroin, and more than half of young people say it takes no effort to get alcohol. It is also worth adding that most street drugs and alcohol are not only accessible but quite cheap.
Ordinarily, teens like to experiment with many things. Some of these things include drugs and alcohol. For some youths, this never goes beyond experimenting. For many young people, what starts as an experiment develops into addiction. It is almost impossible to find a drug addict who wanted to take drugs more than a couple of times. This couple of times, sadly, develops into an addiction that is hard to overcome.