Drug Prevention Programs for Youth | Teen Substance Abuse Programs

Drug Prevention Programs for Youth

Experimenting with drugs is commonplace among adolescents. While not every teen will sample from cigarettes, medications, marijuana, and other illicit substances, many will. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about one in five high school teens abuse prescription medications. Many teens have difficulties dealing with sadness, peer pressure, and other stresses that occur during their adolescent years. It is understandable that they may think having a drink or trying out a pill may offer relief. Drug prevention programs for youth are available to help provide emotional support to teens who are in need. 

AspenRidge Recovery offers compassionate support to anyone facing difficulties with depression, anxiety, other mental concerns, and substance abuse. We focus on long-term care that provides emotional and physical support to those experiencing difficulties with life events. Contact us today for more information 720-650-8055

preventing substances abuse in teens

Teen Drug Abuse Statistics

Statistics for teen drug use are staggering. Each year, new studies reveal that more teens are sampling not only recreational drugs but dangerous illicit drugs, as well. What’s more, is teens who abuse drugs carry an increased risk of developing an addiction when they are adults. In fact, 90% of people with addictions started using substances in their teen years. 

While many teens experiment with drugs, there are many that aren’t yet battling with addiction. For this reason, it’s imperative to find drug prevention programs for youth to help combat later issues.

Recognition and prevention of drug use can end an emerging problem before it starts. Setting a good example and having talks about drug use are strong tools for teenage substance abuse prevention.

Statistics for Teen Drug Use:

  • 21% of high school seniors have reported using marijuana in the past month, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse
  • One in three parents believes there is little they can do to prevent teen drug use despite evidence that shows parental involvement is the strongest factor in prevention. 

Teens are also likely to abuse over-the-counter medications and prescription medications, particularly those that they have access to. Dextromethorphan (DXM), a substance used in cough suppressing medicines, can cause intoxicating effects in high doses, making overdose a real possibility. 

Why Do Teens Experiment with Drugs? 

Experimentation plays the biggest role in teenage drug use. While this doesn’t automatically imply that addiction will become an issue, it’s still a possibility. However, experimentation is part of life. It’s important to understand why some teens are tempted to sample from dangerous drugs. Drug prevention programs for youth can help parents to understand why some teens may be more willing to try harmful substances. 

Common reasons your teen might be using:

  • Curiosity
  • Peer influence or peer pressure
  • Stress
  • Emotional struggles
  • Trauma
  • Neglect
  • A desire to escape

Unfortunately, the majority of adults with addiction first experimented with drugs before they turned 21. The good news is that the rates of teenage drug abuse have steadily declined in recent years. With more accessibility to mental health care, substance abuse treatment, and drug prevention programs for youth, teens can more easily navigate the issues that arise in high school.

What makes some teens more vulnerable to substance abuse?

Certain conditions and circumstances make some people more vulnerable to addiction than others. These risk factors do not determine one’s destiny — rather, they are useful in gauging the potential for a problem to develop.

Preventing and delaying substance use for as long as possible, along with addressing any underlying risk factors, are important to reducing the likelihood of problem substance use. Fostering your child’s coping skills, mental health, and relationships, along with keeping them safe, can also serve as protective factors.

Factors might include:

  • Family history of addiction
  • Mental health concerns
  • Behavioral or impulse control problems
  • Exposure to trauma
  • Environmental factors
  • Age of first use

prevent substance abuse in youth

Signs of Teen Drug Abuse

It’s important that parents, guardians, and other adults take notice of their children, their friends, and changing behaviors. Staying involved with your child’s life and day-to-day activities helps and is one of the best drug prevention programs for youth, according to health experts. 

There are many signs that a teen might be using drugs. Taking a proactive step in listening, talking, and checking in with their teens can help with prevention and long-term support when it’s needed most. 

Some common signs of teen drug abuse include:

  • Falling grades
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Laughing for no reason
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Poor hygiene
  • Diminished personal appearance
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Changing friends 
  • Frequent hunger or “munchies”
  • Smell of smoke 
  • Secretive behavior
  • Lying or stealing
  • Breaking rules and being combative

Unfortunately, one in five parents who suspect their teen is using drugs does not intervene to prevent long-term use. What is the best way to approach your teen, though? It can feel like a monumental step to address problematic behaviors, but there are ways that parents can provide help to their adolescent children. 

Here are some tips:

  • Ask compassionate and understanding questions
  • Do not overreact if your teen comes clean about drug use. Getting your teenager to talk and open it up is more important. 
  • Explain how you care about your child and their future
  • Show support and have open, honest conversations
  • Discuss options for drug prevention programs for youth

If you need outside help, therapists, pediatricians, and addiction specialists can help diagnose a teen drug problem. 

Drug Prevention Programs for Youth & Teens

There is a multitude of effective substance abuse prevention interventions that may have different areas of focus and can be implemented in a variety of settings. Interventions can involve the family, school, and community and may provide substance abuse prevention for an individual or a population of youth by focusing on environmental and community factors and policies, developmental factors, or skill development. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has identified 16 key principles for prevention programs based on risk and protective factors, the type of program, and the delivery of the program. 

Core Components of Evidence-based Prevention Programs

Structure, content, and delivery are the core elements of effective research-based programs that NIDA suggests can help to address the key principles, and should be considered when determining what kind of prevention program is best for individuals and your community.


Mentoring for Preventing and Reducing Substance Use and Associated Risks among Youth

This review takes stock of the research that addresses the potential for mentoring to serve as a strategy for preventing and reducing substance use and the negative effects on personal health and well-being that may stem from this behavior. The review suggests several take-home messages for mentoring researchers and practitioners.

National Institute on Drug Abuse

A division of the National Institutes of Health, NIDA’s mission is to lead the nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction. 

Center for Substance Abuse Prevention

The Center, a division of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, provides national leadership in the federal effort to prevent alcohol, tobacco, and other drug problems.

National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP)

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration supports NREPP, a searchable online registry of more than 200 interventions supporting mental health promotion, substance abuse prevention, and mental health and substance abuse treatment. NREPP connects members of the public to intervention developers so they can learn how to implement these approaches in their communities.

youth.gov Program Directory

The program directory provides up-to-date information for effective programs that address risk and protective factors related to substance abuse. All programs included in the program directory have been rigorously reviewed based on their conceptual framework if the program was implemented as intended, how it was evaluated, and the findings of the evaluations. The directory also includes youth-focused programs from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP), another online registry of mental health and substance abuse interventions.

drug prevent programs for youth

AspenRidge AspenRidge Virtual Care: Drug Prevention Programs

With advances in technology, online counseling, telehealth and teletherapy services are becoming more common and effective forms of substance abuse treatment. Marijuana treatments were once restricted to in-person meetings but can now happen anytime and anywhere with a reliable internet connection.

AspenRidge AspenRidge Virtual Care offers supportive care that addresses co-occurring disorders. Through our various programs offered, including:

Our licensed clinicians help to address teens using marijuana plus underlying mental health disorders. Because mental health conditions can influence addiction and substance use can make mental health conditions worse, both issues must be addressed during treatment. To learn more, contact us directly at 720-650-8055.

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