Is Your Teen Using Drugs?

Teen Drug Use (Illicit and Prescribed)

Posted Sep 12, 2010

So, by the time some teens return to school, they're already using a substance which poses a problem academically. Teens who use drugs have poorer concentration, poorer grades, truancy issues, and more behavioral problems than thier peers who don't use drugs.  Drugs have a significant detrimental impact on ability to learn and retain information. With the adolescent brain still in development repeated drug use may have long term serious effects.

While the research is showing that drug use among teens is beginning to stabilize, we still have some hurdles to clear and drug use trends are not showing promising results. For example, polls show that teens report that Marijuana use is not a big deal. This changing mind set can result in an increase in teen cannabis use in the future, not a trend we want to see emerge. Also, we are noticing a spike in the use of Pharmaceutical drugs in teens. The Center for Disease Control released a recent report stating that approximately 1 in 5 teens are abusing prescription drugs, that's 20% of our teen population. This is why a lot of states are creating Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force Agencies to develop drug awareness programs, distribute pamphlets and brochures and increase awareness about this growing trend in drug use. So what can we do?

As parents, educators and community leaders, we have a large impact on our youth's decision to use drugs. We are the number one deterrent as to whether or not our teens choose to use or refuse drugs.  We need to be vigilant in teaching our teens the dangers associated with drug use and experimentation. The Partnership for a Drug Free America states that about 50% of teens who learn about the risk associated with drugs at home are less likely to use drugs. We are reaching only half of them, so let's keep the number climbing.

It's also important that you are informed. Know the signs of drug use. If you suspect that your teen is experimenting with drugs have him or her tested immediately. Don't second guess yourself. Time is of the essence and early detection is the key to prevention. Drug test can be purchased for home use or done professionally. If the test turns out positive seek professional help and set up random drug screenings. Below are some of the signs of drug use followed by some additional resources.

1. Poor Grades

2. Skipping School

3. Poor Hygiene

4. Change in Friends

5. Significant Mood Changes

6. Lying and Increased Secrecy and Suspicious Behavior

7. Pulling Away from the Family

8. Increased Defiance

9. Evidence of Drug Paraphernalia

10. Isolation - Spending More Time Alone and in Their Room


Quiz - Is Your Teen Using Drugs?

Office of National Drug Control Policy's Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign


Above The Influence

Partnership for a Drug-Free America

Home Drug Test and Home Health Test

 Let's join our forces together (Parents, Schools, Community) and keep Drugs away from our kids!


1.  Center for Disease Control.  Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance - United States, 2009.  MMWR June 4, 2010; 59 (No. SS-5): 1-142.

2.  Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Executive Office of the President,  August 2010 Fact Sheet. 

3.  Partnership for a Drug Free America;