Adolescence is a Critical Time for Preventing Drug Addiction
Teenagers are the most susceptible age group for a predisposition to trying drugs and alcohol. It’s an experimental time in life when you’re figuring out who you are and what you want to be. Drug experimentation, especially in response to peer pressure, is incredibly common during the adolescent years.
However, early experimentation with drugs and alcohol significantly increases the chances of a person developing a serious drug abuse or addiction problem later in life. Drugs have a permanent effect on the brain, after all, which can lead to all sorts of unhealthy habits and chemical dependencies.
For young people, times of transition can be the most difficult to endure. Changing schools, moving to a new state, the divorce of parents; all of these things can place added stress on a teenager, which can motivate them to an interest in substance exploration. Sadly, due to the poor levels of drug education in our culture thanks to the media and a wildly bloated federal “war on drugs,” young people don’t get proper education on what they’re getting into and opt—accidently or otherwise—for the more dangerous drugs.
To top it off, the adolescent years are a time of natural rebellion. Judgment and decision-making skills are still in their early developmental stages and group think often prevails. The people a teen spends his/her time with will have a powerful impact on the person he/she becomes, as well as the decisions made about substances, sex, and other risky behavior.
It’s vital to work with teenagers to prevent early experimentation with drugs and alcohol, as it sets up life patterns that will play out across the coming decades of life. The brain is developing and requires nutrition, not toxic chemicals. It’s important to educate young people honestly and with conversation, not just textbooks.
Knowledge is power and can save lives if spread properly.