A key concern for parents is why teens use drugs or alcohol. It makes sense. Most parents understand that a child will likely experiment with drugs or alcohol at least once. Does it make them “a bad kid”? Of course not. It can be part of growing up. We all had a friend (or ten) in high school who started drinking and doing drugs as a teen and turned out just fine. Maybe, that teen was you.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s something parents should ignore. Early experimenting can lead to future troubles, and be a sign of some deeper issues. The following topics are 10 reasons why teens use drugs.
1. They Are Curious
Drugs and alcohol are everywhere — on television, in conversation with their peers, on social media. They are often presented as not being a big deal or cool. It’s natural for teens to want to know what alcohol tastes like, what being drunk feels like, or what being high is really like. Adolescence is often a time of firsts and hopefully experimenting, episodically with “soft” drugs or alcohol, will go no further than that.
2. They Want to Feel Like They Belong
Teenagers love to feel like they belong to a group. Their friends are the most important people in their lives. According to LoveToKnow.com, that makes them particularly likely to succumb to peer pressure, especially if their friends are drinking or smoking marijuana around them. They’ll probably want to join in so they’ll feel accepted.
3. They Want to Feel Grown-up
According to the National Institutes of Health, using drugs and alcohol is often depicted as a rite of passage into adulthood. They might see older relatives they admire, an older friend, or even parents indulging into a glass of wine, a cigarette, or a joint and want to mimic it.
Interestingly, in other countries where drinking is more a part of the culture, or where younger drinking ages are allowed, this is less of an issue. Check out reason #9 below, regarding drinking or taking drugs as a form of rebellion.