One In Six Children Aged 11 To 15 Admit To Taking Drugs

young teen using drugs

High schools across America are riddled with drugs, and many parents bite their nails as they send their teenagers off, hoping that their children will be among the few who make it through drug-free. But middle school? Elementary school? Most parents don’t expect to have to worry about it that soon. Or do they?

To some tween drug use is a dismal fact, but with one in twenty children aged eleven admitting to taking drugs, it appears it is a major problem. It only worsens when we find out that approximately thirty thousand eleven-year-olds reported substance abuse in the past year.

Many adults wonder how kids this age even know what drugs are or where to get them. Recent statistics report that twenty-five percent of children between the ages of eleven and fifteen have been offered drugs, and one in six have taken them. The drugs are not limited to alcohol or marijuana; tweens are experimenting with Class A drugs including cocaine, ecstasy and magic mushrooms.

What Happens When Kids Use Young

teen who has been using drugs

The younger a child uses drugs the more damage they will cause to themselves. Drug use during these tender years drastically impinges on physical development, including brain development, which continues into the early twenties. Studies have shown that drug use during childhood has a lasting effect on the human brain, even causing lowered IQ in adulthood. It can prevent them from getting into the college they want, getting the job they want, and achieving their goals.

Drug use affects other areas, as well. Ecstasy and magic mushrooms are hallucinogens that can cause distorted perceptions, even when not actively on the drug. Marijuana decreases reaction time. These side effects and others can impinge greatly on athletic performance, artistic ability, and other developing skills.

And who can forget that with drug use, comes addiction. And addiction means an entire life change as the user’s attention fixates on the drug.

His whole appearance and attitude will change; he may start showing up late to class, start skipping class, missing homework assignments, neglecting personal hygiene, and in general spiraling out of control.

Stopping A Problem Before It Starts

The school years should be a time for exploration, for creativity, for kids to discover what makes them passionate. Yet for many, it is the most confusing time of their life. They are climbing toward adulthood and long for independence, but at the same time, they are still reliant on their parents. School may be hard for them. Other kids can be cruel. The best thing for a parent to do is to be a ready ear for their children, treat them with respect and understanding, and help them with academics and social questions when they need it. Drug use often begins as an escape when school or friends or activities become too hard to manage.

Additionally, parents should begin drug education early. Studies show that this is the key difference in kids who turn to drugs versus those who remain drug-free. It does not have to be a formal lecture; it can be as simple as bringing it up in the car and asking if they have any questions about the area. More discussion is always better.

Talk to your kids. If you have a loved one with a problem get them help. Contact Narconon for more information. Keeping our kids drug free requires a team effort throughout the childhood, adolescent, teen and young adult years.


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AUTHOR

Sue Birkenshaw

Sue has worked in the addiction field with the Narconon network for three decades. She has developed and administered drug prevention programs worldwide and worked with numerous drug rehabilitation centers over the years. Sue is also a fine artist and painter, who enjoys traveling the world which continues to provide unlimited inspiration for her work. You can follow Sue on Twitter, or connect with her on LinkedIn.