Substance use in teens can have a big impact on their health and well-being. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has developed a guide for implementing substance use screening in pediatric practices to help pediatricians address substance use concerns. The AAP recommends screening for substance use in
children, starting at 9 years of age.
What are the risks of substance use among teenagers?
– Affect the growth and development of teens, especially brain development.
– Occur more frequently with other risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex and dangerous driving.
– Contribute to the development of adult health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleep disorders.
Finally, the earlier teens start using substances, the greater their chances of continuing to use substances and developing substance use problems later in life. When teens begin drinking at an early age, they increase the chance of becoming addicted to or continuing to abuse substances later in life.
Teenage drug use and experimentation
Many teenagers start experimenting with substances even before they turn 18. It is very important to know why some teenagers may want to experience substance use.
– Peer pressure
– Emotional struggles
– A desire to escape reality
Substance use and the teenage brain
Adolescence is another time of rapid brain development where the brain’s framing and wiring become more efficient and the brain develops skills to focus, prioritize and problem-solve. Vaping, drinking or using substances can damage the brain’s wiring, increasing the likelihood of learning difficulties and physical and mental health problems during the teen years and well into adulthood.