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The Top 5 Drugs abused by Teenagers

February 6, 2017

Top 5 Drugs used by teenagers

Raising a teenager can be difficult and overwhelming at times. It seems that their moods and feelings are constantly changing. Sometimes they change so much that you may question their involvement in drugs or alcohol. They are also growing up in a time that is completely different than the one you did. Although you may try to relate to them on certain things, you may find it impossible to.

Even the most commonly used drugs have changed. It is important to remain aware and vigilant of commonly used drugs in today’s times. Being aware of these commonly abused drugs in the teenage population and knowledgeable of the signs of these drugs can help a parent identify a drug or alcohol problem early on, getting the recovery help that is needed early. Working with the Teen Treatment Center at (844)319-5239 can help with identification and treatment of a suspected drug abuse problem.


Marijuana abuse has been the number one choice of drug for teenagers for many years. Although it has become legal in many states for medicinal purposes, it is still illegal for recreational usage. Teenagers may turn to marijuana usage because of how easy it is to get. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2016), frequent marijuana use can lead to decreased IQ scores, higher rates of addiction, and damaged lungs. The Teen Treatment Center is available 24 hours a day and can help with recognizing the signs of marijuana use.

Learn to recognize the symptoms of marijuana use:

  • Blood shot eyes
  • Increased and rapid heart rate
  • Dizziness or lack of coordination
  • Lethargic demeanor
  • Increased appetite
  • Memory impairment

Parents will also want to look out for newer, alternative forms of marijuana. A form of marijuana, called “Spice”, has increased in occurrence. It is a herbal mixture that produces a similar high to that of marijuana. However, it can also lead to vomiting, high blood pressure, and reduced blood supply. Some users even experience heart attacks. If you have any questions related to the difference types of marijuana drug abuse, consider contacting the Teen Treatment Center for confidential help.


Alcohol remains a commonly abused drug, likely due to its ease of access. In fact, alcohol is often the first drug that teenagers experiment with. Additionally, binge drinking tends to a be a problem, as teens do not know their limits. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2016), approximately 5,000 young people under the legal drinking age die as a result of underage drinking every year. For more information about the problems associated with underage alcohol addiction, consider consulting with a free counselor at the Teen Treatment Center at (844)319-5239.

Extended alcohol use can lead to many serious health risks. It has been proven to severely affect the liver and the brain, including the cerebral cortex. It can also contribute to endocrine effects in the growing teenager. Alcohol addiction can be especially difficult to overcome as the body becomes physically dependent on the substance. Teens are likely to experience severe adverse side effects as they attempt to break the dependence.

Alcohol can become even more dangerous for teens as they engage in drinking and then get behind the wheel. Their reaction times, already slower and not yet quite fully developed, are a leading factor of alcohol related auto incidents. The legal and financial charges that accompany an underage drinking and driving incident can affect the rest of their lives.

Look for the following warning signs of alcohol use:

  • Smell of alcohol on breath
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Stumbling and coordination difficulties
  • Change in friends and activities
  • Academic changes and decreased grades
  • Depression and anxiety

If you are unsure about the warning signs of alcohol abuse or addiction, but feel your teenager is at risk, engage in a free and confidential consultation with a counselor at the Teen Treatment Center. They are professionals in identifying and working with drug and alcohol addictions in teens.

Over the counter and prescription drugs

Today, more and more teens are experimenting with prescription and over the counter drugs. Teens may experiment with leftover prescriptions in the medicine cabinet or may try to get a feeling of “high” with cough medicines and other syrups that they already have access to. They may try these sources of drugs out of curiosity or as a result of peer pressure. The professionals at Teen Treatment Center can help you understand the risks of prescription drug abuse in your teen.

Another form of prescription drug abuse comes from the legal prescription for a warranted medical condition. A teen may become addicted to a pain medication prescription, for example, that they at one time needed. They are unable to recognize that they no longer need the drug, but instead, consume it for the feelings it provides. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2016), the most commonly abused prescription drug is that of Vicodin and OxyContin.

Pseudoephedrine, commonly seen in over the counter cough syrups are also commonly abused by teenagers. Although many retailers have taken awareness of this increase in abuse and have put age restrictions on the purchase of these medications, they are one of the drugs that are easier to access.

The signs of prescription drug abuse may be more difficult to recognize:

  • Unexplained medications missing
  • Decreased school grades
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • An urgent need for money
  • An increase in injuries
  • An increase in prescription use

If you are concerned about missing medications or an over the counter drug addiction problem, the counselors at Teen Treatment Center can help with the identification and drug recovery process.


Steroids or Anabolic-Androgenic steroids are known for their ability to rapidly increase muscle mass and increase athletic ability. They are commonly abused in athletes with the purpose of making a special athletic team or improving scores or times on a specific athletic task. Although steroids are prescribed for some medical conditions, abuse occurs when the dosage limits are exceeded or when the person consuming it was not prescribed it for a medical condition. Steroid abuse often exhibits different signs than other abused drugs. If you need help identifying a steroid abuse problem, contact the counselors at Teen Treatment Center at (844)319-5239.

Although teen users of steroids may see sudden positive results with their body, the drug can be extremely dangerous long-term. According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2016), abuse of steroids can lead to extreme changes in mood, including depression, heart and liver problems, stroke, and problems with the sexual body parts. Steroids use is also illegal in many sporting activities and can lead to expulsion or forfeit of the sport.

Look for the following signs of steroid use:

  • Rapid body and weight gain results
  • Change in skin color
  • Aggressive mood
  • Swelling of body parts
  • Serious acne
  • Leg and abdominal cramping

The treatment of steroid addiction often differs from alcohol or other drug related therapy. The teen may also need medical monitoring to safely come off of the steroid dependency. The counselors at Teen Treatment Center can confidentially help you set up a consultation with your teen.


Hallucinogens, which include drugs like MDMA and Ecstasy provide the user with a stimulating and mind altering effect. Teens may take it for a “good time” or to increase the experience of a concert or music event. In many cases, users will use hallucinogens to increase the experience of another drug, increasing the “high” and the dangers to the body. Hallucinogens can be especially dangerous and if you are worried about hallucinogen use in your teen, call (844)319-5239 for a free consultation.

Hallucinogens have both short-term and long-term harmful effects. Short-term effects can include extreme addiction, the immediate need for more, paranoia, increased heart rate, dehydration, and toxicity. Long-term effects include heart and living problems, brain and nerve synapse sensitivity problems, and high blood pressure symptoms.

It is also important to mention that users of hallucinogens are more likely to be harmed in dangerous situations. They are often unaware of their surroundings and are unable to make sound judgment calls. Following use of a hallucinogen, they may forget anything and everything that happened. Also, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (2016), the chemical makeup of the hallucinogen may affect the development of the brain. This can lead to the need for increased potency of hallucinogen, causing them to take additional amounts of the drugs. Some teen users may even have traumatic experiences as a result.

Look out for the following signs of hallucinogen abuse:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Confusion or unawareness of surroundings
  • Paranoia
  • Wild and spontaneous behavior
  • Flushed skin

If you are worried about the immediate dangers of hallucinogen use in your teen, contact the helpful addiction counselors at the Teen Treatment Center today.

Drug abuse that forms during the teen years can be especially troublesome. The makeup of the drugs can affect the still underdeveloped brain and body, leading to medical problems. It can also act as a gateway or coping mechanism during the years that teens would otherwise learn these important life skills. Early drug abuse can lead to a lifetime of drug addiction, often in the form of many drug substances.

Parents may be at a loss with recognizing and understanding their teen’s drug addiction. It is important to not only understand the causes and motivations of the drug, but to also recognize the warning signs of an addiction. Many of the symptoms of a drug problem can mimic normal teenage hormonal changes, making it extremely difficult to identify. However, recognizing the signs of drug abuse and understanding the effects of the drugs at hand is a great starting point. Also, consider calling the Teen Treatment Center at (844)319-5239 for additional drug addiction, identification, and treatment help.


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The Surprising Rise of Heroin Use
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