(Partnership to End Addiction) According to the most recent data, numbers are in the single digits among 12-17-year-olds who smoke (2%), drink alcohol (9%) or use marijuana (7%).
These numbers are encouraging, and as a parent, you’re in the best position to keep your child healthy. The majority of teens say their parents are the most important influence on their decisions about whether or not to drink or use drugs.
Any teen use is a concern
Over the past two decades research has helped us understand the unique risks of substance use during the teen years, a time when major changes are taking place in the the brain. Introducing any addictive substance during this sensitive time can have both short- and long-term effects. It can interfere with healthy development — especially in the parts of the brain that control memory, learning, judgment and emotions. And it significantly increases the risk of lifetime addiction.
Even if your teen only uses once or once in a while, it can still cause damage and lead to negative consequences, including addiction. Symptoms of nicotine dependence often develop soon after first use. In the case of prescription pain relievers, even prescribed use during adolescence is associated with a higher risk of opioid addiction in early adulthood.