When Teen Drug Use Becomes a Problem

25 Jun, 2023
when teen drug use becomes a problem

There have always been issues with teens using drugs. However, in recent times, teen drug use has flown under the radar with a kids-will-be-kids mentality. Sober Life is trying to bring awareness to this issue and its true severity.

Why We Often Minimize Teen Drug Use

Many people view teen substance experimentation as a right of passage. They assume that since they did it and saw it as harmless, it’s okay if their kids happen to try a few things.

Some parents assume that their children are not the type to try illicit substances. However, the truth is that teen years are often marked by reckless behavior and the urge to try new experiences. This combination can be volatile depending on what types of substances teens can get their hands on.

What Are Teens Actually Using?

The topic of teen drug use must involve a discussion of what substances teens have access to. In fact, access often dictates when and how teens get involved with substances in the first place.

People tend to assume that teens will attend parties with alcohol or try marijuana. However, there are now a number of other addictive substances teens are having easy access to. These include:

Some may see this list and think it is next to impossible that teens could have access to these things. Yet, depending on a variety of factors, they may. These factors can include:

  • Their socioeconomic status
  • Proximity to other users
  • Their living situation
  • Their mental health status

When teens find themselves with several of those factors working against them, there is a higher possibility of use. Also, once teens have started down the path of drug use, the odds of it continuing into adulthood increase.

How Do I Know When Teen Drug Use Is Becoming A Problem?

The important thing to remember about teen drug use is that there are warning signs. The telltale signs can range from the obvious to the inconspicuous. These can include:

What Steps Should I Take To Help My Teen?

Often, parents and loved ones feel that the only way to tackle the possibility of teen drug use is to hover and overprotect. However, much like any situation with teens, it is quite possible that overprotection may push them in the other direction. How, then, can loved ones address these issues?


The first thing to do is listen. It is important for teens to know they are being heard and not pandered to. The act of listening and taking in information can lead to frank and open discussions. When these discussions can happen in a non-confrontational way, they pave the way for future conversations on a range of difficult topics.

Family Therapy

Families may find that they require outside facilitation to help them with these difficult conversations. This can be especially true when a family believes their teen already has an issue and is attempting to help them. Family therapy provides a safe space to have a conversation. Teens may find that they can open up to their loved ones more when a third party is involved.

Outpatient Programs

When a teen has a verified issue with drug use, it may help them to enter an outpatient program. In these programs, they continue to live at home while spending their days in a structured recovery program. These programs include individual therapy, group therapy, and alternative therapies. This mix will depend upon the program.

Inpatient Programs

For teens who need more structure, an inpatient program may be necessary. In these programs, the person will enter a facility and live there while they work on their recovery process. Often, the people entering these programs need intensive help and may not be functioning well in their daily lives due to their issues.

Inpatient programs also assist teens and their families in the post-recovery process. This process involves creating care plans that guide them to reintegrate themselves into society and stay sober. This is accomplished by utilizing available resources as they proceed through the rest of their teen years and into adulthood.

How Sober Life Helps With Teen Drug Use

Sober Life offers options to assist families and their loved ones with teen drug use and related issues. Its adolescent intensive outpatient program (adolescent IOP) is meant to bridge the gap between an inpatient program and the post-recovery world. This bridge can be pivotal in a teen’s recovery journey.

This Sober Life program serves teens aged 14-17 and consists of three months of intensive outpatient services followed by three to five visits a week depending on the schedule of the individual.

Teen drug use can be combated if the right methods and proper approaches are used. Sober Life is ready to help teens and their families navigate this difficult path.

One of the hardest parts of dealing with teen drug use is understanding how to address it. Most people have feelings of guilt about the fact that they have not recognized certain behaviors before in their teens. That is why Sober Life is prepared to assist families as they attempt to navigate the journey either during recovery or in an attempt to catch it before it becomes a real issue. It is important to know the signs and warnings. Sober Life sees teen drug use as a doorway to further drug use in adulthood. However, there are ways to approach the problem and learn more about how to deal with any emerging issues. Call Sober Life today at (619) 542-9542.

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