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What Are the Current Trends in Teen Drug Use?

What Are the Current Trends in Teen Drug Use?

Parents of teens need to be aware that the fastest-growing drug issue in the United States may not be what they think it is. When most people hear the term substance abuse, they may consider the use of heroin or cocaine. However, the drug issues affecting teens the most these days are substances that can be found in their own homes. 

It’s common for teens and young adults to get high from prescription drugs found in family medicine cabinets. The data on prescription drug use shows that thousands of teens have used prescription pain relievers without a doctor’s guidance. This could involve taking a few of grandma’s pills that she is bound not to notice or taking them from friends’ houses. As a parent, there are steps you can take, both practical and educational, to protect your teen.

What Are the Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse on Teens?

The use of prescription drugs is popular among teens not only because they are easily accessible. There is a common misconception that these drugs are “safe” because they are legal and prescribed by a doctor. But many prescription drugs, especially painkillers, are prescribed with careful supervision because they can be dangerous if they are not taken appropriately. 

The side effects of many prescription drugs include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Changes in body temperature
  • Nausea
  • Seizure

The consequences of prescription drug abuse can harm any person’s body, but it’s particularly significant for teens as their brains are still developing. The frontal lobe, which is responsible for making decisions, controlling impulses, and impacting perception, is not fully developed until an individual reaches their mid-twenties. Damage to this part of the brain can impact teens’ ability to make good decisions, the consequences of which could affect them well into adulthood. Drug addiction in the teen years can impact them physically as well as socially for many years to come. 

How Can Parents Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse in Teens?

Here are a few ways you can prevent prescription drug use in your home:

Safely Storing and Disposing Medicines

Most teens who have abused prescription drugs sought them out from friends or other family members. In other words, the drugs they abused were not prescribed specifically for them. If you or someone else at home uses prescription drugs, be sure to keep them in a place your teen can’t access. For example, a lockbox, if necessary. The traditional medicine cabinet in the bathroom may no longer be an ideal place to store medicines. You may want to keep track of exactly how many pills are in each bottle so you will know if any go missing. 

Monitoring Prescription Drugs

Painkillers and other medicines are being prescribed by doctors at greater rates than they use to be. Many people are now asking doctors and pharmacies to have better monitoring systems in place when it comes to prescription drug registries. This can help medical staff know how often these drugs are being prescribed. Over-prescription can lead to misuse and potential overdose. 

Does TikTok Promote Teen Drug Use?

The social media platform, TikTok, is a place to share videos of everything from recordings of original songs to cute animals playing. It’s also a place where some people document their use of drugs, using the hashtag #TripTok. These videos are often made to be funny as users document how certain drugs make them feel and react, often garnering millions of views. Because this platform is popular among teens and young adults, many of those views are by teenagers who may be influenced to mirror the videos that they are watching. TikTok by itself does not promote drug use, as it is prohibited in the platform rules, but that doesn’t prevent other people from finding loopholes around these guidelines. 

It is essential to understand that videos showing drug use do not show drug use consequences. Though this content is prohibited by TikTok guidelines, these videos are still posted and widely shared because of clever hashtags that disguise the actual content. Parents must be vigilant about what teens are viewing on their smartphones and strongly consider setting some boundaries around the use of social media. It’s also important to have ongoing conversations with teens about what they’re viewing, what they’re posting, and what their friends are posting. Encourage your teen to report videos that show or otherwise glorify drug use. 

By opening up conversations with your teen, you can express your concerns regarding drug use. When you talk openly and honestly with your child, they will learn to do the same with you. If they find themselves struggling with substance use, it is essential to get them connected with treatment resources as soon as possible.

As a parent, it’s scary to think that your teen might be in danger in your home or at a friend’s home simply from ordinary things like prescription drugs. To avoid substance use affecting your teen, it is essential that you monitor them appropriately while having honest conversations with them about your concerns. At Clearfork Academy, we not only treat adolescent boys and girls for alcohol addiction and substance abuse: We are also a resource for information on how to protect your teens. This includes recognizing the signs of a possible drug problem, as well as providing information to keep parents informed about the current drug scene. If you think your teen may have a problem with alcohol or other dangerous substances, it is vital that you connect them with treatment resources as soon as possible. To learn about our treatment programs, call (888) 966-8604

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How Should I Confront My Teen Who May Be Using Drugs?

How Should I Confront My Teen Who May Be Using Drugs?

There is no easy way to talk to your teen about their substance use. Many teens who are confronted about drugs may immediately get defensive and deny any evidence that you may place in front of them. They may insist that you do not understand, that their actions are harmless, or that they aren’t in any danger. If you have a history of drug use, they may even accuse you of hypocrisy. Why can’t they use drugs if mom or dad once did?

Step by step, we’ll outline some helpful suggestions for bringing up this sensitive topic with your teenager.

#1. Gather Evidence

Your teen may want to know how you discovered their drug use. Otherwise, they may deny it altogether. Having evidence is key to showing your teen that you know the truth. While we understand the hesitation to search through your child’s belongings, we wouldn’t recommend doing so unless you had a strong suspicion that required it. Privacy is very important, especially for a developing teenager. However, your primary responsibility as a parent is to ensure the well-being of your teen. Invading your child’s privacy is a small price to pay to potentially save their life.

Some common hiding spots for drugs may include:

  • Desk or dresser drawers, especially in between layers of clothing or stuffed in socks
  • Small boxes or pockets, such as jewelry boxes, pencil cases, or backpack compartments
  • Under the bed
  • Hidden between book pages
  • Concealed containers such as makeup, soda cans, boxes of breath mints, etc.
  • Inside over-the-counter drug containers such as Tylenol, Advil, etc.

#2. Prepare for Backlash and Educate

If you experienced substance abuse as a parent, your teen might excuse their substance use as a result of your past substance use. It is important to be transparent with your child about the consequences of your past use. You could explain how you tried drinking, smoking, or using drugs to fit in or self-medicate, only to realize that those were harmful excuses. Highlight specific consequences that occurred from your substance use, whether it was getting kicked out of school, losing certain friendships or relationships, or developing medical problems. Maybe your life wasn’t drastically harmed by substance abuse, but you likely know someone else whose life was.

Avoid letting your experience be used as a justification for continued drug use. Be clear about the risks and the consequences that could have happened without early intervention from an adult in your life. Also, emphasize that the earlier your teen starts to use drugs, the harder it is to stop when they’re older. By that point, they could experience significant long-term physical and mental health consequences.

Explaining the Risks of Teen Substance Abuse

The physical and mental consequences of teen substance abuse are real and well-documented. This is especially true in teenagers and adolescents whose brains are still in process of developing. Teen substance use can:

  • Damage brain chemicals
  • Impair their memories, making it harder to do well on tests in school
  • Reduce their ability to feel pleasure
  • Harm the development of reasoning skills
  • Lead to a damaged liver, hormonal imbalances, sleep disorders, and other mental health disorders

In addition to damaged health, substance abuse can result in academic problems that may lead to suspension or expulsion, damaged friendships, and legal issues if they are caught using.

#3. Resolve to Remain Calm

As uncomfortable as this conversation may be for you, it’s going to be more uncomfortable for your teen. They may feel attacked, judged, or afraid of getting in trouble. However they respond, resolve by remaining calm, even if you’re angry or freaking out inside. This can make a big difference in how honest your teen will be with you. If they respond in anger or denial,  avoid taking the bait. Take a deep breath, pause if you need to, and don’t forget to emphasize how much you love your child. Your love is the primary reason for your concern.

#4. Establish Clear Rules and Enforce Consequences

After confronting your teen about substance use, you must enforce rules and establish consequences for breaking those rules. You may forbid your teen to go out with friends until their schoolwork is done or encourage them to avoid certain friends altogether because of their negative influence. Be clear and firm in your expectations. Similarly, be clear of consequences, such as loss of allowance, reduced television privileges, taking their smartphone, etc. Make sure your co-parent is also prepared to enforce these rules and consequences. If necessary, consider sending your teen to a treatment program.

Recognize Addiction in Your Family History

If substance abuse runs in your family, understand that this puts your teen at an increased risk of developing an addiction. This should give your teen a solid reason to avoid using drugs. If you have used drugs or experienced alcoholism, be honest with your teen about how you wish you had made different choices. Remind them that you don’t want them to repeat the same mistakes.

Confronting your teenager about suspected drug use is something that no parent wants to do. This is one of the hardest steps for your teen’s healing, as admitting there is a problem is a big deal. Fortunately, there are resources available to help you and your teen. Clearfork Academy offers a range of therapies, patient programs, detoxes, and even summer programs for teenagers and young adults. We have a long history of helping teenagers overcome drug abuse and achieve long-term sobriety. By helping to heal from the effects of substance abuse, we help your child heal physically, mentally, and emotionally. Your child will be in good hands with our licensed, experienced, and compassionate staff. We also offer family services for parents that need support resources. For questions about our programs and treatments, give us a call today at (888) 966-8604.

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How to Spot Alcohol or Drug Activity?

Mother embracing her teen daughter to comfort her

Parents play a huge role in the lives of their children. They know their kids better than anyone else and are on hand to notice when something isn’t right. That’s why every parent needs to be aware of the signs to look out for regarding alcohol or drug abuse in teens.

Here are some ways to spot alcohol or drug use to help your teen stay safe and healthy.

How to Detect Alcohol or Drug Activity

Alcohol or drug use can be challenging to detect. However, there are some tell-tale signs that your teen is struggling with substance abuse. One of the best ways to detect alcohol or drug use in teens is to look at their space, including their room and postings on social media. Their activity on social media may tell you about your teen’s problems.

Another way to detect alcohol or drug use is to monitor your teen’s behavior. If your teen has sudden mood swings, seems more withdrawn, and starts hanging out with people they don’t usually hang out with, these are all indicators that something might be wrong.

Communicate With Your Child

You and your teen need to establish an open dialogue about subjects like drugs and alcohol. Listen to your child and withhold judgment when they speak. Doing so will build trust and help your child understand that you support them.

Together, you and your child can address what is bothering them and find ways to help manage the symptoms they are experiencing. You should consider seeking professional care to provide additional methods to help your child overcome the challenges of school and life that may trigger them to use substances.

Tell-Tale Signs of Drug Use or Consumption of Alcohol

The effects of alcohol and drugs vary depending on the person and how often they use them. It’s not always easy to spot a person using these substances because some don’t show outward signs. Some of the most common symptoms include changes in behavior, appearance, and emotions. The following list highlights the tell-tale signs:

Mental Health Related Signs of Substance Use:

  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue and decreased motivation
  • Increased paranoia and hallucinations caused by high doses and intense periods of substance use
  • Have difficulty focusing on the tasks at hand
  • Exhibit antisocial behavior such as aggression or increased impulsiveness
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Suspiciousness of others, including you as a parent
  • Inability to focus or concentrate a decrease in short-term memory

Physical Signs of Substance Use:

  • Constant bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils (than usual)
  • Rubbing the nose frequently because of a continuously running or irritable nose
  • Redness of the skin around the mouth
  • A lack of coordination with movement due to impaired brain function
  • Dilated nostrils or mouth due to snorting or inhalation
  • An odor, like alcohol,  on the breath or clothes
  • Decrease in appetite with consequent weight loss over time
  • Track marks on arms or legs from intravenous drug use
  • Needles and syringes are lying around
  • Small baggies with white powder lying around their stuff
  • Withdrawal symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, agitation)
  • There are more scabs or bruises from picking at skin compulsively (common among people who abuse stimulants)

Behavioral Signs of Substance Use:

  • A sudden change in friends or hanging out with a new crowd
  • Anger issues such as rage attacks (breaking things)
  • Exhibit antisocial behavior such as aggression or increased impulsiveness
  • New or more significant secretive behavior
  • Sudden changes in grades
  • Staying out late, withdrawing from the family, or wanting to isolate
  • Problems with the law, such as frequent run-ins with police
  • Stealing objects in the house that they can sell or asking you for money
  • Vague responses when asked what’s wrong or how they feel; their answer is always “fine” or “good”
  • Lack of motivation or interest in activities once enjoyed by the individual
  • Increased absenteeism from school or extracurricular activities

If you see any of these signs in your teen, it’s essential to talk to them and get them help.

How to Help Your Teen?

Parents can help their teens recover from drugs with treatment, including counseling, drug education, medication, and family therapy. Parents can also provide support by participating in their child’s recovery process via counseling and by continuing to strengthen the lines of communication. The more resources for help you provide your child, the better chance they have at a successful recovery.

At Clearfork Academy, our treatment programs involve therapy, holistic services, education on relapse prevention, and peer support to reduce the urge for substance use.

If you find yourself questioning whether your teen is drinking or doing drugs, take action. Talk with them, educate yourself about substance use, and get them the help they need. At Clearfork Academy, we encourage and help parents lookout for any signs of alcohol or drugs. Our programs help educate parents and teens about substance use. Having an understanding of substance use will also allow parents, teens, and health professionals with diagnosis and find appropriate treatment. We provide evidence-based treatments, various therapeutic options, and holistic services that serve your teen’s recovery goals. Our goal is to help your teen overcome substance use and establish the confidence necessary to live life to its fullest potential. Stop your teen’s struggles with substance use from worsening by contacting our specialists at Clearfork Academy. Our admissions are here 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To learn more about our programs, contact us today by calling (888) 966-8604.

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The Impact Of Pre-teen Drug Use

The Impact Of Pre-teen Drug Use

As a parent, it is important to know the risks and consequences of pre-teen drug abuse. Pre-teen drug use puts your child at a higher risk for developing long-term complications that can impact their life. Since teens deal with many daily stressors, including familial, peers, and social media, they may also find themselves in social circles that revolve around smoking cigarettes, marijuana, or getting drunk.

Social media also influences how adolescents are exposed to drug use. Seeing other people enjoy drugs for its fun might provoke teens to use substances, too. Exploring one drug can act as a gateway to other substances out of curiosity. Exposure to such strong drugs at a young age can have consequences that can affect teens well beyond their adolescent years. Let’s look at the impact of pre-teen drug use to understand better what influences it and how to prevent it.

The Rise of Pre-teen Substance Use

Even with early prevention strategies like D.A.R.E., many elementary and middle schools are finding an increase in drug use with students.

Alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are the most commonly used substances among adolescents. Although middle school years are typically where drug use starts to become more prevalent, elementary students are starting to become the focal point of kids interacting with drugs.

Data has shown that:

  •  Alcohol is the most abused substance, showing that by the 12th grade, almost 60 percent of students have abused alcohol.
  •  According to the same study, roughly over 80 percent of students have reported using drugs during the school day.

Many people question why drug use is on the rise among adolescents. In addition to the current pandemic, many disruptions in teen’s life contribute to their drug use. With the loss of peer interaction, increased stress, and routine of going to school, many kids spend their free time exploring drugs to cope. It also includes a younger age group of kids, where drug use can be detrimental if not caught in time.

The Dangers of Drug Use for Pre-teens

The earlier and younger a person uses drugs and alcohol, the more they put themselves in danger of facing the potential consequences. There are three main areas affected by drugs and other substances.

#1. Development: Substances typically fit into three specific categories:

  • Depressants or “downers” such as Xanax or alcohol slow down the brain and body, causing slower heart rate, decreased energy, and low body temperature.
  • Stimulants or “uppers” such as cocaine or meth speed up the brain causing rapid heart rate, increased energy, and other physical symptoms.
  • Hallucinogens impair the brain and body’s sense of reality, causing delusional thoughts and hallucinations. These forms of drugs can seriously impact the development of a teen’s brain.

#2. Physical: Heavy drug use and addiction take a huge toll on the body. The younger a person begins substance use, the longer they use it, the more it wears down the body. Each substance has different effects on a person.

Long-term effects of alcohol abuse include:

  • Heart problems
  • Liver damage
  • Digestive problems
  • “Beer belly”

Long-term effects of tobacco use:

  • Damage to the lungs
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Shortness of breath

Long-term effects of marijuana use:

  • Poor memory
  • Breathing problems
  • Psychosis symptoms
  • Mental health issues

#3. Behavioral: Pre-teens are already going through behavioral changes due to budding hormones and learning how to navigate the world. Combined with the early use of substances, behavioral changes can be dramatic, and consequences will follow.

Pre-teen drug use also trickles into teen drug use once they become dependent on the drug. Behavioral changes like anger, irritability, and impulsiveness can increase as they age. The recklessness that potentially follows can result in actions that can lead to legal issues. Many teens find themselves involved in risky behaviors such as D.U.I.’s or altercations with peers or other people.

What to Do if Your Pre-teen Is Using?

If you suspect your child is using substances, address the situation as soon as possible. As a parent, it can be easy to freak out knowing your child is using drugs, but try to remain as supportive as you can. Try not to approach it aggressively or harshly. Remember, conversation over confrontation is always the answer.

Instead, sit them down and have an open conversation about why they feel the need to use drugs and if any underlying issues are causing them to do so. If you believe that drug use has become a serious problem, reach out for help by contacting your pediatrician or pediatric mental health professional.

The earlier and longer a child begins drug use, the more serious the consequences rise for the quality of their life. At Clearfork Academy, our mission is to help male teens recover from substance abuse and mental health issues. We believe that it is never too late to start over in life and take control of your mind and body. Addiction and mental health disorders can be an aggressive cycle to break, which is why we believe you and your teen shouldn’t have to deal with ending substance use alone. Our highly trained professional staff are work to help your teen through the detox process as safely as possible with medical assistance if needed. If your teen requires treatment for their substance use or any other co-occurring disorder, get help today and take the first step to get your teen on the road to recovery. Find out more and reach out to us by calling (888) 966-8604