Teenagers might enter high school as children, but they graduate as young adults. This four-year period is transformational — full of growth, hardships and self-discovery. It’s also an experimental time, and for millions of teens, that means trying drugs and alcohol.
The availability of drugs at school is surprisingly high, especially in high school. Sadly, some teens using drugs will suffer serious consequences as a result of their substance use.
Why Do Teens Use Drugs?
There are many different possible causes of teen drug use. Many are reacting to peer pressure and believe that turning to drugs and alcohol is how to become popular in high school. Some use drugs to self-medicate from painful feelings.
Some teens even turn to “study aid” drugs like Adderall or Ritalin, because they believe these substances will boost their academic performance. High school is often the first time that kids encounter illicit substances, and their curiosity often gets the better of them.
Peer pressure is influence from the people in one’s social group or setting. Not all peer pressure is bad, though. This influence can cause people to act more responsibly or join a sports team, for example. However, usually, when peer pressure is discussed, it is negative and often is tied to bullying.
Teens face an overwhelming amount of peer pressure in high school, from their classmates and friends. Peer pressure during adolescence often involves risky behaviors, such as trying drugs or alcohol. Teenagers may feel as though they need to give in to this pressure to fit in socially.
High school is an exceptionally busy and stressful period of life, and academic pressure in high school is very high. Students face harder classes and are gearing up to go to college or start a career. The pressure to get good grades, do well on entrance exams and succeed in extracurricular activities comes from both parents and teachers.
Overwhelmed by homework and studying, teens sometimes turn to performance-enhancing drugs to boost their energy and concentration. They might also take drugs to help them sleep better under stress. Taken without a prescription, these drugs can become addictive and can cause dangerous health effects.