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July 1, 2022

Why do Teens Abuse Drugs?


The teen years can be characterized by one word: challenges.

The teen years are marked by explosive growth and hormonal changes. As a teen’s brain and body grow, they experience the pressures of being an adolescent. Whether it is increased family responsibility, peer pressure, or increased academic expectations, teenagers easily feel overwhelmed and often feel they are in over their heads. While most teenagers accept the challenges of growing up and are able to conquer those challenges, some teens struggle to cope and turn to drugs and alcohol.

This article will answer the question of why do teens abuse drugs. This article will also dive into the most common drugs abused by teens and where you can find help for your son or daughter if they are struggling with substance abuse. The Nook is a premier Los Angeles sober living facility featuring effective programs for young people and adults. Call us today to learn more!

Why Do Teens Abuse Drugs?

Before diving deeper into teen substance use problems, we first need to understand the scope of teen drug abuse as a whole. The following data provided by the CDC paints a shocking picture:

  • 10% of all alcohol consumed in the United States is by the 12-20 age group
  • 2 in 10 teenagers report they used prescription drugs without a prescription
  • About half of high school students reported using marijuana at least once
  • By 12th grade, about two-thirds of students have tried alcohol

One of the main reasons why teens use drugs is peer pressure. The desire to “fit in” and be accepted by peers is a massive part of a teen’s life. It can be hard to say no if a friend offers drugs and alcohol. Another reason why adolescent use drugs are a family history of drug use and having family members actively using substances. Also, teens will use drugs and alcohol to feel “grown-up” and like adults. 

Another reason why teens abuse drugs is simply experimentation. Teenagers are innately curious and may turn to substances just to see what it feels like to be under the influence.

What Drugs are Commonly Abused by Teens?

Of all the drugs used by teens, alcohol is the most used and abused by young people. In an underage drinking information sheet published by the NIAAA, just under 25 percent of 14-15-year-olds reported drinking at least once in 2019. Also, 7 million teens aged 12-20 drank alcohol which was “more than a few sips” in the same year. Marijuana is also another common drug abused by teens.

According to information provided by the CDC, 37% of high school students reported use of marijuana, and 22% used marijuana in the past 30 days. Other drugs commonly used by teens include stimulant drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin. These so-called “study drugs” help teens study for more extended periods and gives them better focus. Other drugs used by teens include prescription painkillers, cocaine, and Xanax.

How to Find Teen Sober Living in Los Angeles, CA

If you are a parent of a teenager who is struggling with addiction, finding professional help is your number one priority. While getting your son or daughter into treatment as soon as possible is very important, you need to do so with great care and research. Treatment isn’t one size fits all, and teenagers have unique and specific needs. Finding the right facility with evidence-based and dynamic programs specifically designed for young people will give your teen the best chance at long-term recovery.

Teen sober living is an emerging treatment option that allows young people to receive the care and support they need while being able to attend to their family and school commitments. As one of the premier teen men’s sober living programs in Southern California, The Nook Sober Living features a team of dedicated professionals who design individualized programs that perfectly fit your teen’s needs. 

In addition to sober living, we partner with Thrive Treatment to offer evidence-based outpatient services. No matter the severity of your child’s addiction, The Nook Sober Living can help your teen address and overcome their addiction.
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