Teens Use Drugs instead of Cigarettes and Alcohol for Stress Relief

The youthful and alluring smoking ads of the 20th Century have since been replaced with stark warning labels and new restrictive laws. The traditional path of gateway drugs from cigarettes to alcohol to hardcore drugs has become much more limited in scope for this generation. Instead, young people are going straight to marijuana and more intense and highly addictive drugs. As parents, it’s important to understand the way your teens are influenced by current society and drug culture.

According to recent surveys, cigarette smoking has declined among high school students from 15.8 percent in 2011 to 9.2 percent in 2014. In addition to increasing tobacco prices and smoke-free laws, the media has continued to run effective ad campaigns about the health effects smoking carries. It is no longer “cool” to be a smoker, and it is no longer easy to smoke in public. Students have responded by seeking alternative drugs sooner.

Given the pressure from peers as well as academic and personal challenges, alcohol remains very influential for teens who are looking for a way to escape the pressure or are searching for a way to find a quick buzz and fit in. While alcohol remains the drug of choice for some, marijuana has become the new hip gateway drug for many of today’s youth. Upwards of 4.8 million teens have admitted to using marijuana at least 20 days a month. One last factor that has supported the growth of marijuana among the youth of today has been the glamorization of marijuana in the entertainment industry. It has created a hip culture that no longer shows marijuana use as taboo or criminal in nature. It is easily accessible and boasts to be safer than some of its counterparts. Furthermore, there has been a huge push to legalize marijuana, adding to the culture hype that it is safer and cooler to use.

Regardless of what substance your teen is addicted to, it is critical to reach out for help as soon as you can. At Rehab After School, we provide intensive outpatient programs to support students struggling with drug and alcohol addictions. Our programs focus on educating students through community building and group therapy to create an environment for successful recovery. Therapy may include individual sessions or family sessions to allow for families to support their children in a more fundamental way. In addition, we provide small group therapy of no more than eight individuals per group to ensure an intimate space for sharing. We know substance addiction is not easy to overcome, but we are committed to working with you and your teen to full recovery and an addiction-free lifestyle.

If you have noticed a change in your teen’s attitude coupled with a lack of interest in former hobbies or a change in friends consider to what degree these may be due to substance abuse. Adolescence can be a trying time for parents and youth alike, but if your or your child’s mental or emotional health becomes at risk from substance addiction, consider finding help today. Call Rehab After School at (610) 644-6464 to talk about your teen and how we can support your family on the road to recovery.