Over the years, it has become very easy for teenagers to get their hands on drugs. According to one study conducted a few years ago, more than 80% of teens revealed that they could get access to drugs if they wanted to. With these numbers, its good to know more about ‘Drug Abuse in Adolescence,’ and gather as much knowledge as possible.

The good news is that not all of them are taking the opportunity to use drugs. That same study showed that only about 40% of teens say that they’ve tried drugs, with most admitting to experimenting with marijuana.

But the bad news is that drug abuse in adolescence is affecting some of the teens who have given drugs a try. According to a survey done by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, about 3% of those between the ages of 12 and 17 believe they could benefit from receiving treatment for drug abuse.

Do you suspect your teenage child might fit into this category? Here is how you can help them battle addiction.

Look for Signs That Suggest Your Teenager Might Be Using Drugs

The longer a person uses drugs, the harder it can be for them to quit. Drugs can change the wiring in a person’s brain and make it almost impossible for them to quit on their own if they’re not careful.

With this in mind, the parents of teenagers should always be on the lookout for any early warning signs of teen drug use. These warning signs will let you know if you should be concerned about your child using drugs.

In some cases, it’s pretty easy for parents to tell that their teenagers are using drugs. They

stumble upon drugs stashed in their bookbag or smell the scent of drugs on them when they return home after hanging out with friends.

But drug abuse in adolescence isn’t always this obvious. There are less subtle signs that can also let you know that your teen might have a drug problem.

Your child might be using drugs if you notice that they are:

  • Hanging out with a new group of friends that you’ve never met before
  • Showing little to no interest in school, work, and extracurricular activities
  • Exhibiting frequent mood changes and almost always acting out of character

Almost all teenagers go through some changes as they grow up and work their way through middle and high school. But if you notice sudden changes that come out of nowhere, it could be a cause for concern.

Talk to Your Teenager About Their Suspected Drug Use

Experts say that parents should start talking to their kids about drugs from a young age.

They don’t need to explain drug abuse in-depth to them when they’re 6 or 7 years old. But they can lay the groundwork for future conversations by discussing the dangers of smoking cigarettes, drinking, and using drugs when the opportunity presents itself (i.e. when someone is shown smoking in a movie).

This makes it easier for parents to speak with kids about drug abuse in adolescence later on. It’s not as difficult for parents to talk to teenagers about drugs when they’ve already established an open dialogue about them.

Whether you’ve spoken with your teenager about drugs in the past or not, you should bring drugs up the moment you suspect they might be using them. You shouldn’t ignore the problem or chalk your child’s drug use up to “experimentation.”

You should sit them down and talk to them about your concerns and let them know that you’re worried about some of the things you’ve noticed in recent weeks.

Avoid Being Judgmental While Discussing Drugs With Your Teenager

If you know for a fact that your child is using drugs, you might be tempted to explode on them as soon as you start discussing their drug use with them. Many parents lose their cool at the start of the drug conversation with their teens and pay the price for it.

If you go on the offensive right away and begin passing judgment on your teenager and their drug use, they’re not going to respond well to it. They might even get up and leave before you have a chance to say anything else.

You’re much better off easing your way into the conversation that you’re going to have with them and expressing your desire to support them. They’re more likely to be open to talking with you when you take this approach.

They’re also more likely to talk about the specifics of their drug use once they see that you’re not going to judge them or yell at them. This is important because it’ll allow you to gauge how often they’re using drugs and how bad their problem might be.

Ask Your Teenager If They Have a Desire to Stop Using Drugs

At some point during your conversation with your teenager, ask them if they’ve ever thought about quitting drugs. You might be surprised by what they have to say.

There are some teenagers who will respond by saying that they don’t have any intention of quitting. But there are also some who will say that they wish they could stop but don’t know how.

As we alluded to earlier, drugs can take over a person’s brain and make it very hard for them to stop using them. It can be especially difficult for teenagers—and those of all ages, for that matter—to kick prescription pill habits and heroin addiction.

Your teen could very well tell you that they’ve thought about trying to quit drugs in the past but struggled to do it. This will put you in a much better position to help them.

See If Your Teenager Would Be Willing to Get Professional Help for Drug Abuse

You might not realize this, but if your child is under the age of 18, certain states will allow you to force them to go to drug rehab. Some parents take advantage of this and tell their teens to pack their bags as soon as they discover they’ve been using drugs.

But the problem with taking this approach to getting your teenager help with addiction is that they obviously aren’t going to feel like they have a say in the matter. It could make their rehab stint unsuccessful, and it could also affect your relationship with them moving forward.

Instead, why not ask your teenager if they would be willing to get professional help for drug abuse?

By making them feel like they’re a part of the process, you may get a much better response from them. You may also help to put them on the right path once they enter rehab and start taking the necessary steps to fight back against addiction.

Find the Right Drug Treatment Facility for Your Teenager

It’s not going to be too tough for you to find a drug treatment facility if your teenager agrees to go and get the help that they need to battle addiction. There are more than 14,000 addiction treatment centers in the country today, and that number seems to rise every year.

You should do your homework, though, and try to track down the right drug treatment facility for your teenager. Look around at different places that are within an hour or two of your home and see which ones will cater to your teen’s specific needs.

Continue to Communicate With Your Teenager About Drugs

In a perfect world, your teenager will check into a rehab facility, get the help that they need, and get clean within a few months. But even if that’s the way that things work out, that’s not going to be the end of their drug problem.

Beating an addiction to drugs is unlike beating any other health issue. Your teenager is going to have to continue to fight the urge to turn back to drugs for the rest of their life. And it’s not uncommon at all for those who have quit using drugs to relapse at some point.

It’s why you and your teenager are going to have to continue to communicate about drugs.

You’re going to need to talk to them about how they’re doing and encourage them to get more professional help in the future if they need it.

The key is addressing the elephant in the room rather than ignoring it. As long as you and your teenager are able to do that, they’ll have a much better chance of living a drug-free life.

Help Your Teenager Deal With Drug Abuse in Adolescence

Has drug abuse in adolescence taken a toll on your teenager?

You might be depressed, angry, and even heartbroken over it. It’s not easy for parents to accept that their children are having a hard time with drugs.

But you shouldn’t turn your back on your child over it. You should make every effort to get them the help they need so that they can get back on the right track.

We can help you by providing your teenager with a drug recovery program. Our program is designed to help people detox from drugs and start putting the pieces of their life back together.
Contact us today to find out what our rehab facility can do for you, your teenager, and your family as a whole.


  • 7580 E Gray Rd Suite 201 Scottsdale, AZ 85260
  • (877) 224-0761
  • Mon-Sun: 24x7
  • Mon-Fri: 8:00AM – 4:00PM

Our Newsletter

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
licensed drug and alcohol rehab arizona

See how much of your treatment is covered by insurance

(877) 224-0761


Skip to content