Youth Substance Abuse

Sammie Bourland, Reporter

Research by the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that in 2019, 35 percent of teens in the US admitted that they had tried a form of illicit drugs. Other studies conducted by the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics show that 8.33 percent of teens 12 to 17 have used uncontrolled substances in the past month. Drugs are not only becoming addictive and hurting these kids, but they are killing them. In 2017 alone, 18.2 percent of 8th graders said they had tried a drug or other substance and there were 5,455 deaths caused by overdose in young teens. Leo, a former Narcotics Agent says, “It’s like a glue trap, they get into it easily, but once they are in it, they are stuck”. Once the child starts getting addicted, the only way out is to seek help, but many won’t because they feel they may get in trouble or they may just not want to stop at all. 

In 2020, 21.3 percent of kids said they had tried some sort of narcotic. Ms. Vaughn, a homicide detective, says “Personally, I have seen a saddening trend in child-related drug cases”. These kids are listening to their friends, taking these drugs, and in turn, messing with their future. Vaughn also says that “These kids need to start realizing that what they are doing now, WILL affect their future. They can’t just mess around, throw it away, and expect it to come back one day”.

Luckily, the percentage of kids using these substances is going down, hopefully, we will reach a point of zero kids using drugs or other substances. The effects of these drugs are detrimental, and eventually, they will start to show, and these kids will not function the same. They will start distancing themselves from families and friends, failing classes, or worse. These kids all have to get their fix from somewhere. In many cases, this is from their peers. To end this epidemic, we must end the problem at its source.