Health & Fitness

5 Common Substances Abused by Teenagers and Why

Many parents globally have a wrong notion that drug and substance abuse is only common among the youth and adults. If you are among such parents, you need to think again. Almost every day, you will hear on the news about teenagers who have been caught using drugs or taking alcohol. It has become a serious issue, and that is why it must be addressed with urgency. Some teens have even been admitted to rehab, such as, to help them reduce drug usage.

Which are the Common Substances Abused by Teens?

You might think your teen is safe in their friend’s or relative’s house, such that you do not realize how exposed they are to different substances. The section below discusses some of the popular substances abused by teenagers;


In most households today, chances of finding a bottle of wine, beer, gin, and other types of alcohol are pretty high. You should know that when you consume liquor in the presence of your teen son or daughter, you show them that it is okay to do it. Additionally, even with laws that prohibit the selling of alcohol to minors, they still get access from older friends and relatives.


Popularly known as marijuana, this drug has become one of the life-threatening substances to today’s teens. Like with alcohol, bhang is easily accessible. Today, most states and countries have legalized this drug, consequently increasing its usage among the young and adults. There are also medical marijuana laws that have been a significant contributor.


These are typically prescription drugs, such as Ritalin, used to treat conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall is the most common among ADHD medications, and its abuse can even get to teens. Stimulants are known to enhance alertness. So, your teen may abuse it to focus better in class, complete their homework, or even revise for exams.


Cocaine abuse among teenagers is not as common as marijuana, simply because cocaine is not as readily available. Most teens have disapproved of experimenting with drugs with cocaine. However, some know how to get this substance and use it inappropriately. This drug is common in nightlife and parties, which most teenagers do not attend. However, cocaine can also be used at home secretively, since it can be snorted.


These are substances that can cause a high to the user. Inhalants are found in everyday household products, such as ink, glue, and gasoline. The main contributors to inhalant abuse among teens are that the products that contain them are relatively cheap, and they can be easily found around the house. According to NIDA, 8th graders are more likely to abuse inhalants than their 10th and 12th-grade classmates.

Why do Teenagers Abuse Drugs?

It has been found that kids who abuse drugs and alcohol do it for some specific reason. These include:

  • Peer pressure – This is where teens start using drugs and alcohol because their mates are doing it.
  • Media – Advertisements, movies, and some music videos that teens listen to present drug use as a ‘cool’ thing.
  • Rebellion – The difference in personalities is what rebellious kids consider when choosing a substance to abuse. For instance, an angry character yearns for alcohol because it helps the user behave aggressively.
  • Other people – The negative influence teens get when they see the people around them taking drugs and alcohol is overwhelming.
  • Low self-esteem – Kids with low self-esteem and confidence admit that being under the influence helps them do things they would otherwise not do.

Taking care of your teens and being vigilant of their exposure to substance abuse is very vital. The best thing is to teach them the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse to prevent them from getting misinformed by friends and relatives.

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