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Why teens do drugs: What parents can do

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Why do teenagers use drugs? Teens use drugs most often because they bored, struggle with their self-image, and unskilled in handling the pressures of school, failure, and disappointment. Find the top reasons teens do drugs, and how parents can deal with substance abuse in teens.

Teens use drugs because:

  • Teens are bored: Boredom is the number one reason teens experiment with drugs. Teens that are not challenged in school have trouble sitting through lectures that they perceive have no relevance to their lives. Often there is little to do after school or on the weekends. Even teens who are involved in sports during a particular season will become bored during the off-season.
  • Teens feel out of place: Teen bodies mature at different rates. Girls or boys who do not mature as fast as their peers are concerned there is something wrong with them. Their childhood friends may outgrow them due to varying interests.
  • Teens are unhappy with their living situation: Teens who are experiencing a family move, a divorce, or the merge of a new family often are unhappy with the change.
  • When doing drugs, teens believe they are more open and relating to others. While teens are high, they may have endless discussions on their opinions, their view of life, and other subjects where they are not afraid to express their thoughts.

Parents should be aware that good students, teens involved in sports, and teens that involved in family life might be experimenting with drugs. When the experimentation develops into a social activity, parents will see teens change. Many teens acquire new friends; resist participating in their usual activities like sports, and their grades will begin to drop. If you notice your teen’s behavior changing, it may be as simple as a growth change, or as serious as drug use.

When you teen’s patterns change:

  • Be observant. Is this change a healthy one?
  • Talk with your teen about the change; there may be legitimate reasons.
  • Ask your teen’s school for an evaluation of their progress over the past few months.

If you are not satisfied with the changes, your teen’s explanations, or the school’s progress reports:

Use the testmyteen at home drug kit. Testmyteen offers a choice of two urine tests, one alcohol test, a nicotine test, and a test using a strand of hair that tests for the major classes of drugs and prescription drug use.

If your teen tests positive for any type of drug, contact your doctor or pediatrician for his or her recommendation for an outpatient substance abuse program.

Your may also contact:

Barnes Jewish hospital in St. Louis for their substance abuse program

Any of the 205 outpatient programs across Missouri

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