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Teenagers and drugs

Teenagers and drugs; Symptoms of drug use in teenagers; Drug abuse - teenagers; Substance abuse - teenagers

As a parent, it is natural to worry about your teenager. And, like many parents, you may be afraid that your teen may try drugs, or worse, become dependent on drugs.

While you cannot control everything your teen does, you can take steps to help your child stay away from drugs. Start by learning all you can about drugs and drug use. Learn the signs of drug use so that you can be alert. Then use these tips to help prevent drug use in your teen.


Signs of drug abuse

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First, learn about the different types of drugs that may be used. Older teens are more likely to use drugs than younger teens. Marijuana (pot) is still common. More and more teens are using prescription drugs.


There are many reasons why teens might use drugs. Some common reasons include:


It is not easy, but it is important to talk with your teen about drugs. It is one of the best ways to prevent teen drug use. Here are some tips:


While there is no surefire way to make sure your teen never does drugs, you can take the following steps to help prevent it.


There are many physical and behavioral signs that point to drug use. Learn them and be aware if your teen acts or looks different. The signs include:

You may notice changes in your teen's energy level, such as:

You also may notice changes in your teen's behavior:


If you think your teen is using drugs, start by talking with your family health care provider. Your provider can help treat your teen, or can refer you to a drug specialist or treatment center. You can also look for resources in your community or local hospitals. Look for a specialist who has experience working with teenagers.

Do not hesitate, get help right away. The sooner you get help, the less likely your teen's drug use will turn into drug abuse.

You can find more information at --


Partnership for Drug-Free Kids website. Downloadable parent resources. Accessed May 17, 2016.August 30, 2017.

Stager MM. Substance abuse. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 114.


Review Date: 8/26/2017  

Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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