I recently read an article from the National Institute of Drug Abuse that said that fewer and fewer teens are using illegal drugs. The number of teenage alcoholics and cigarette smokers seems to be declining as well. If you’re thinking that all the anti-drug literature and messages were making a positive impact, think again — and don’t get too excited about closing the teen rehab centers.
While it is true that cigarette smoking, the use of methamphetamines, amphetamines, cocaine, hallucinogens, and alcohol is down, the use of marijuana, smokeless tobacco, Vicodin, OxyContin and other prescription narcotics is on the rise. Some teens report that they steal the drugs from family members, others say they buy them outright online. Teen addiction statistics may be changing, but they are not necessarily improving.
I worked in a teen drug rehab center before I went to college. I remember being astounded because there was a six year old child in detox. She had been stealing prescription sleeping pills from one of her parents for months so she could sleep and not hear them argue. Her addiction came to light after the parents separated and the child no longer had access to the drugs. Don’t just automatically assume your son or daughter is too young to have a drug problem. Monitor your medications carefully. Monitor your child’s internet access and personal spending habits.