Teen Drug Abuse in Washington

Teen Drug Abuse in Washington

Experts say that teen drug abuse in Washington has reached epidemic proportions and now is a major public health problem. Nearly half of all high school students in Washington have experimented with drugs, perhaps contributing to the high percentage of adults in Washington who seek treatment for drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. After all, teen drug abuse has been shown to be a good predictor of substance abuse later in life.

Teen Drug Abuse in Washington – Alcohol

Alcohol seems to be the most common drug of teen drug abuse in Washington, with 21% of teens reporting trying alcohol before the age of 13. Many teenagers drink to fit in, out of curiosity, or to cure social awkwardness. Teens who participate in underage drinking are more likely to be the victims of sexual assault or violent crimes. They are more likely to slack on school work and be involved in drinking-related car crashes. Each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking.  

According to a study on teen drug abuse in Washington conducted by the US Department of Health, 42% of Washington high school students reported drinking at least once in the 30 days before they responded to the study, and 30% had engaged in binge drinking. Binge drinking is a pattern of excessive alcohol consumption. It is defined as consuming more than five drinks for men-and four drinks for women- in one sitting.  Binge drinking alcohol can cause memory loss similar to amnesia. These periods of alcohol-related amnesia are generally referred to as blackouts. A blackout — the inability to recall events without a full loss of consciousness — means sufferers can walk, talk, drive or have sex but can’t remember any of it — creating a greater risk for car crashes, other accidents, unwanted pregnancy and STDs.

Teen Drug Abuse in Washington – Marijuana

Marijuana is the second most common drug of abuse in Washington, with 37% of high school students reporting having smoked pot at least once in the previous thirty days. Marijuana is usually readily available to teens, and most of them do not consider it to be a dangerous drug. Marijuana abuse, however, can be linked to a decrease in ability to learn and remember, lack of energy, marijuana related car crashes, and increased risk of abusing other drugs.

Teen Drug Abuse in Washington – Prescription Pills

Teen drug abuse of prescription pills is on the rise in Washington, as well as in the rest of the United States.  Most teens that abuse prescription drugs find them in a parent or grandparent’s medicine cabinet. Many teens perceive prescription drugs to be safer than street drugs because they are manufactured by professionals. Prescription drugs are extremely addictive, and very dangerous, especially when taken in combination with alcohol or other drugs.

What you can do:

The best way to combat teen drug abuse in Washington is through education and open lines of communication between parents and children. Educate your child about the dangers of drug abuse and start talking about it early and often.