Drugs and alcohol might seem like they are everywhere, but the fact is most teens are not using them.
It can be tough being a teen and using drugs or alcohol is sometimes the way people try to deal with pressure, stress and depression. Some people like the way that drugs or alcohol feel. People don’t want to think that bad things will happen to them and so they ignore the dangers of drugs or drinking. Drugs and alcohol change the way your brain and your body work.
The facts are: drugs and alcohol can cause addiction, poor decision making and lead to horrible things like a drunk driving crash, an overdose, or an unintended pregnancy.
A few more facts:
- Teens are more likely to say they’ve done something sexual while using alcohol or other drugs that they might not have done had they been sober.
- Sexually active teens that use alcohol or other drugs before sex are less likely to use a condom, putting them at high risk for STDs and unintended pregnancy.
- Teens that drank alcohol in the past month were nearly twice as likely to report having been pregnant or gotten someone pregnant as those who didn’t drink.
- Alcohol use by a victim, offender, or both increases the chances of sexual assault.
- If you’re already using drugs or drinking, it’s easier for someone who wants to take advantage of you by easily slipping drugs like GHB (roofies) into your drink (regardless whether it’s alcoholic or non-alcoholic).
- The leading cause of teen death or injury is related to car crashes. Driving under the influence of any alcohol or drug increases your chances of being in a car crash that might injure or kill yourself or others.
- Using alcohol and other drugs can have a major impact on mental health, making feelings of depression or stress worse and leading teens to attempt suicide more often than teens that aren’t using drugs or alcohol.
- Teens that start drinking at age 15 are four times more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol than those who begin drinking at age 20.
- Trying any substance can lead to more continued use, and in some cases, dependency, or addiction. For some, it also leads to using “harder” drugs.
For specific information about different drugs and how they can affect you, visit: www.checkyourself.com
If you’re worried about yourself or a friend, find a trusted person to get support and assistance. If you can’t talk to a family member, try to find another adult you can talk to. If you don’t feel comfortable with this, there are a lot of local and national resources to try:
1 2005 and 2007 New York City Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS)
2 Teen-Anon www.teen-anon.org
3 British Medical Association (BMA). Alcohol and Young People, Health 1999