Unfortunately, teenage drug abuse is becoming more and more common throughout the United States. An array of factors play into the risks of teenage addiction – some of which can be controlled, and others which cannot. Major life changes, such as entering high school, moving to a new community or a graduation can all contribute to teenager’s tendency to experiment.
Home Environment and Family Lifestyle
Family dynamics can play a huge role on an adolescent’s behavior. Teens from households lacking proper boundaries and supervision are much more likely to dabble with drugs and alcohol than households with parental involvement. Adolescents left to their own devices for the majority of the day are afforded more time to partake in risky behaviors. A strong family bond is perhaps the best line of defense in teenage drug abuse prevention.
Studies show that adolescents who are self-controlled and calm are less likely to dabble in drug and alcohol use than those with an aggressive personality. Teens who are afforded the ability to express their emotions and who feel that these emotions are heard are less likely to seek comfort through substance abuse. Adolescents showing a lack of interest in home and academics may also be at risk.
Environment and Community
Community plays a big role in drug abuse risk factors in teenagers. Kids who are raised in poor communities are more likely to dabble with alcohol and drug use. Research shows that close-knit communities actually work to decrease teenage substance abuse numbers – perhaps due to positive mentoring and bonding experiences throughout childhood. Mentors and role models offer support to teens facing stressful situations and transitions throughout adolescence.
Rules & School
School types are yet another risk factor in terms of teenage drug use. Educational facilities with a strict “no drug” policy see a decrease in student substance abuse numbers. Schools lacking proper regulation and supervision place teens at a much higher risk. These institutions are generally located in communities with fewer outreach programs and a lower socio-economic status.
Social & Peer Groups
Perhaps the highest risk factor for teenage substance abuse is the peer group that a teen associates with. Students who participate in school activities and sports are far less likely to engage in drug or alcohol use. Those who lack interest in school activities may belong to social groups that partake in drug use or other illicit behaviors. When an adolescent associates with a group that is known for trouble, the teen will likely begin exhibiting the same types of behaviors. Students with a focus on academics are also much less likely to experiment with substance abuse than those without.
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