Substance Use

Substance Use

Adolescent substance use is a family disease. When you discover that your child is using drugs or alcohol, it is perfectly normal to experience an onslaught of painful emotions. It is also normal to be flooded with questions that don’t have immediate answers. Try to maintain a level head. Laying blame on yourself or your child is not productive and could potentially make matters worse.

Statistics on Substance Use

Supportive research

Sadly, adolescent substance use is more common than you might think. In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that nearly 30% of teens use alcohol regularly. They also reported that nearly 20% of teens use marijuana regularly, and 14% use prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription. It is important to keep in mind that you are not alone. Help is available.

Early Detection

Preemptive help

Without treatment, adolescent substance use can lead to a lifelong dependency and poor choices. Early detection is crucial. Enrolling in a treatment program can be the difference between success and failure. In some cases, it can be a matter of life and death.

facts about adolescent substance use

  • The overwhelming majority of adults who are addicted to drugs or alcohol started using before the age of 18.
  • 20% of teens report having a friend that misuses prescription drugs.
  • High correlation between underage alcohol consumption and cocaine use later in life.
  • By 8th grade, 17% of teens have smoked marijuana.
  • Most prescription drugs misused by teens were taken from medicine cabinets of family or friends.
  • In the United States, the average age of heroin addicts in addiction treatment centers is 23 years old.


why do teens use drugs?

There are many reasons why adolescents experiment with controlled substances. Most teens are unaware of the high level of risk involved with this type of behavior. Experimentation can easily progress to a substance use disorder if left unchecked. After a while, it is very difficult to stop using without professional help.

Common Reasons For Adolescent Substance Use:
Curiosity, Pain relief, Mental health issues, Peer pressure, Escapism, Academic pressure


Family First Adolescent Services is here to provide help and ongoing support. We believe in early intervention. Treating the problem early can drastically improve the chance of a full recovery. Our adolescent program focuses on treating the underlying traumas that often lead to substance use. This is done within the context of the entire family. Additionally, we prioritize education as an integral part of program. Your child doesn’t fall behind in their studies while taking care of what is most important: their health.

Before seeking treatment for your child, it is important that you know what is going on in their life. How long have they been experimenting? Are they in danger of developing a substance use disorder, or worse, overdosing? Answering these questions is necessary in order to develop a deeper understanding of the situation – and knowing how to proceed.

As a parent, knowing the signs of teen substance use can help you decide whether or not your child is in need of professional intervention.

Signs of Teen Substance Use:

While most of these signs can be the result of normal adolescent behavior, the existence of multiple red flags can signal a problem.

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Runny nose with no medical cause
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Diminished personal appearance
  • Emotional instability
  • Extreme moodiness
  • Secretive behavior
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Compulsive eating
  • Chronic coughing
  • Theft
  • Isolation


Adolescents lack the emotional maturity and life experience to comprehend the risks involved with experimenting with substance use or alcohol. As a result, they don’t consider the possibility of causing permanent damage (physical, emotional, legal) to themselves or others. Moreover, adolescents often act as though they are invincible. When making the decision to use for the first time, teens don’t consider the potential for getting hurt or developing a long term problem.

Our goal is to eradicate substance use in adolescents so they are free to live fulfilling lives. We understand that the health and happiness of your child is top priority. We aim to restore the harmony between adolescents and their families.

You can speak directly with a member of our dedicated staff by booking a complimentary consultation.

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