The New, Young Face of Drug Addiction

The New, Young Face of Drug Addiction

In my last post, I shared some surprising statistics about drug use among elderly people. For this one, I want to take a look at the other side of the coin and focus on the increasing rates of addiction and overdose in youths. Our children are our future and as an interventionist, it pains me to see more and more of them suffering from drug addiction and substance abuse issues.

Starting Young

We all remember what it was like to be young. You’re unsure of your place in the world and still developing your identity. You feel like no one but your friends understands you and all you want is to fit in. It’s a scary, overwhelming time. It’s also a time when teens are more likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol. The average age drug use begins is 15.7 years old. Usually it’s an innocent enough beginning but with the prevalence of fentanyl being cut into recreational drugs, that innocent start can become a serious mistake.

Misinformation about Prescription Drugs

With over 80,000 Canadian teens using them to get high last year, prescription drug abuse is a growing problem among our youth. Opioid pain killers and anxiety medications are most commonly abused, and because these drugs are commonly used by parents or older relatives, they’re easily available. Worse still, because they’ve been prescribed by a doctor, teens mistakenly believe that they’re somehow safer than other illegal drugs. The fact is, any drug that’s misused can be dangerous and habit forming.

A Rising Trend

As an interventionist, I think one of the most frightening statistics is that youth aged 15 to 24 have the fastest growing rate of hospitalizations for opioid poisoning. At that young age, your brain and body are still developing and exposure to drugs and alcohol can have long lasting effects into adulthood including chronic disease, addiction, and mental health disorders. It’s a bad start that can lead to lifelong problems. Thankfully, deaths from overdoses in that age group are low but, as fentanyl overdoses continue devastating drug users across the country, I’m afraid that number will rise too.

Prevention

There are many things you can do to prevent your kids from using drugs. First and Foremost? Talk to them. 87% of teens think their parents are credible sources of information about illegal drugs. The more you know, the more you can pass on to help them make good decisions. That’s just a start though. This is an excellent resource for parents on how to be the first line of defence when it comes to your children’s drinking or drug use.

Intervention and Counselling

The best method to avoid addiction is to prevent it from starting at all. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work. When the problem gets too serious, that’s where I come in. If your child is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, an intervention is a way to step in and get them started on the road to recovery. There’s no shame in seeking help for your child. Overcoming drug or alcohol addiction will give them a new lease on life and set them on a path for greater things.

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