Exploring the Perils of Adolescent Substance Abuse


In this work “Teenage Drug Abuse Essays” we will talk about a relevant topic in our day - teenage drug abuse. Substance abuse is very common amongst teenagers nowadays and is an unfortunate issue that many families go through. “Substance abuse is a major issue in today’s society. Throughout history, natural and prescription drugs have been used to increase physical or mental performance. Teenagers undergo a lot in high school and most of them do not like to talk to their parents about what they are going through. Some things that can cause teens to turn to drugs are getting bullied, losing friends, falling behind in classes, hanging out in the wrong crowd, etc. Unfortunately, this leads most teens to turn to drugs to resolve their issues. “Half of all new drug users are under the age of 18. Experimentation plays the biggest role in teenage drug use. However, experimentation is a fact of life and just because a teen has tried drugs or alcohol does not mean they will become an addict.” Teens are very easily influenced and if they hang out with the wrong group of people, odds are that they will likely do what their friends are doing, even it is drugs. If they feel sad or depressed because they are failing a class, getting bullied, or being involved in drama, then they can also turn to drugs to suppress what is going on in their life. Teens are still trying to ‘find themselves’ and most are confused about the things they may be going through. Even though they may be going through the smallest things, it still might be difficult to handle the situation in their minds. Most of them will still refuse to talk about their issues with their parents or counselors. Now, it is not always the teens though that may be poor at communicating, sometimes it is the parents who need to be more adequate at communicating and listening to their child. Some parents may also get upset with their children if they do open up about something they may not agree with, which can also cause the teen to shut down.


Cocaine is an example of a drug that gets highly abused and is a very addictive stimulant. It is a street drug that looks like white, crystal powder that is, oftentimes, mixed with other substances. “Cocaine increases levels of the natural chemical messenger, dopamine, in brain circuits related to the control of movement and reward.” Unfortunately, many people have died from overdosing on this drug. There are short-term effects that come along with taking this drug which include; being more alert, more happy, sensitive to lights and sounds, irritability, and extreme paranoia. Some people believe it helps them complete tasks faster than usual. Because the effects wear off quickly, people do it multiple times a day to maintain their ‘high’. Some side effects of using this drug include; dilated pupils, fast heartbeat, twitches, restlessness, nausea, elevated temperature or blood pressure, and constricted blood vessels. Depending on the method used, some long-term effects that come with taking cocaine are loss of smell, problems swallowing, nosebleeds, runny nose, coughing, asthma, reduced blood flow and scarring or collapsed veins. A person can very much overdose on cocaine and death can occur as a result as well. Symptoms of an overdose while taking this drug are elevated heart rate, elevated body temperature, nausea or vomiting, pain in the chest, hard tie breathing, anxiety, tremors, heart attack, stroke, and seizures. There is not a specific drug that can stop the overdose, but there are multiple treatments that can manage each symptom. Usually, the first responders will try to stop the major issues which are a heart attack, stroke, or seizure. They will try restoring blood to the heart to stop the heart attack, restore blood supply to the affected part of the brain if they are having a stroke, or try to stop the seizure.

Other Drugs

There are many drugs that teens abuse on a daily and use regularly. Teens turn to these drugs if they are having issues, that they cannot deal with, or are just plain bored. They tend to experiment the most in high school. The most abused drug by teens is Marijuana. It is at its highest level of use than it has been in years. Most states have legalized it for adults over the age of twenty-one. “Today's marijuana plants are grown differently than in the past and can contain two to three times more tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the ingredient that makes people high. The ingredient of the marijuana plant thought to have most medical benefits, cannabidiol (CBD), has not increased and remains at about 1%.” There are multiple ways that teens use this drug which includes, smoking it, drinking a liquid version of it, or eating an edible version of it. Although it can be used to treat some medical conditions, it still has some bad effects. Short-term effects of using this drug include difficulty in school, problems with memory, car accidents, gateway to other drugs, mood changes, suicidal thoughts, and increased risk of psychosis. Long-term effects include mental health issues, moodiness, breathing issues, decreased motivation, and lower intelligence. Even though it is rare, overdosing on marijuana is still possible. Signs or symptoms of an overdose include extreme anxiety or panic attacks, psychotic reactions, decreased judgment or perception, being delusional or having a loss of personal identity, fast heart rate, pain in the chest, heart attack, seizures, uncontrollable shaking, skin color is pale, unresponsiveness, or having an elevated blood pressure with a headache. Everyone reacts differently, so some of these possible side effects may last for either one hour or up to several hours. First responders will usually monitor the patient for any significant changes.


When or if teenagers get addicted to drugs, it does not mean it is the end of the world. There are people or agencies out there that can help these teens quit this bad habit. These agencies get to the bottom of why the teen is using these drugs and how they can help them stop. This writer understands that sometimes teens may not be compliant and do not want to stop using but implementing the right words can help them quit. An example of an agency that helps teens quit using drugs is SAMHSA’S National Helpline. “Prevention approaches focus on helping people develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to make good choices or change harmful behaviors. Substance use can make daily activities difficult and impair a person’s ability to work, interact with family, and fulfill other major life functions.” This agency helps prevent early drug use and promotes good decision-making skills. For people that may not be able to afford this program, there are grants and financial aid to help families afford it. These programs can educate teens on the use of drugs and what possible side effects, long-term effects, or short-term effects that may derive over time from drug use. In addition, they have created an ‘overdose prevention toolkit.’ These are strategies that are written down to help prevent any overdoses, that may occur if a patient does relapse. This agency helps teens understand the importance of their life, home, family, and school, etc. They give hope that recovery is a possibility and that these challenges can be conquered. Having a stable life, friends who are good influences, and focusing on school are some suggestions they provide. It is not only up to the agencies to help the teens recover, but their families as well. Families need to also support their teens through their recoveries.


Vaccinations have been a huge topic of discussion over the last couple of years. Now, there are both myths and truths to getting vaccinated. Of course, it is highly recommended that children get vaccinated for their own health and safety. “The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) currently recommends that children be immunized against eight infectious diseases as well as against hepatitis A in areas of high incidence.” Parents have their own reasoning behind why they do not want to get their children vaccinated, and it is not for every vaccine. For example, most parents do not want to get their children the HPV vaccination because that would mean that they have to talk to them about sex. This is understandable because most parents would want to do that when the timing is right for them. Getting this vaccination at a young age would mean talking to them about sex at a young age, which may encourage it. The flu shot is another vaccination that concerns parents. The myth that you will get the flu if you get the vaccine is what scares parents. “It can take weeks for a vaccine to help your baby make protective disease-fighting antibodies, and some vaccines require multiple doses to provide the best protection. If you wait until you think your child could be exposed to a serious illness, then there may not be enough time for the vaccine to work.” Getting your child vaccinated helps prevent them from acquiring all types of diseases. Unfortunately, there are side effects that come with getting vaccinated. “Most people don’t have any serious side effects from vaccines. The most common side effects, like soreness where the shot was given, are usually mild and go away quickly on their own.” Possible side effects include pain, swelling, or redness were a shot was given, mild fever, chills, tiredness, headache, and muscle or joint aches.


  1. AACAP. 2019. Marijuana and teens. Retrieved from https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF- Guide/Marijuana-and-Teens-106.aspx
  2. CDC. (2019.). Making the vaccine decision. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/why-vaccinate/vaccine-decision.html
  3. HHS.gov (2019.). Vaccine side effects. Retrieved from https://www.vaccines.gov/basics/safety/side_effects
  4. Juergens, J. (2019). Teenage drug abuse and addiction. Retrieved from https://www.addictioncenter.com/teenage-drug-abuse/
  5. Moini, J. (2018). Focus on Pharmacology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson
  6. NIH. (2018). What is cocaine? Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cocaine
  7. SAMHSA. (2019.). Substance abuse and mental illness prevention. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/prevention
10 October 2022
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