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Youth substance abuse can have devastating consequences

Home » Blog » Youth substance abuse can have devastating consequences

Many problems are experienced by young people who abuse substances, including academic difficulties, mental health problems, poor peer relationships, and involvement in the juvenile justice system. There are also consequences for the family, the community, and society.


Adolescent substance abuse can lead to declining grades, absenteeism from school, dropping out more often, and decreased grades. In addition, teenage substance abuse is associated with lower education attainment and higher truancy rates.

Alcohol- and drug-using teens may have cognitive and behavioral issues that can affect their academic performance and impede their ability to learn for their peers.

Physical health

Teen substance abuse can lead to injuries such as those caused by accidents, physical disabilities, and other diseases. In addition, more teens who abuse alcohol or other drugs are at greater risk of dying from suicide, homicides, accidents, or illness.

HIV/AIDS is transmitted primarily through contact with the body fluids of infected persons during sexual contact or by sharing unsterile drug injection equipment.

Another way of transmitting HIV/AIDS is through the mother-to-child relationship. This can happen during pregnancy and birth. Many substance-abusing teens engage in behaviors that put them at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. This could include the actual use of psychoactive drugs (especially those that can be injected) or poor judgment and impulse control when experiencing the effects of mood-altering medications.

Additional healthcare costs and future productivity are other burdens that can cause distress for the family and individual.

Mental health

Substance abuse by adolescents is often linked to mental health problems like depression, withdrawal, developmental lags, and apathy. In addition, youth who struggle with substance use disorder are more likely to have mental health problems than those who don’t. This includes depression, personality disorders, and suicidal thoughts.

Youth use of marijuana, which is common, has been shown in studies to affect short-term memory, learning, and psychomotor skills. In addition, motivation and psychosexual/emotional development also may be influenced.


Teens who abuse substances often feel isolated from their peers and stigmatized. As a result, teens who use alcohol or other drugs often withdraw from school and community activities, denying their peers and communities the positive contributions they could have made.


Besides personal difficulties, youth abuse of alcohol or other drugs can lead to family crises. It can also jeopardize family life and sometimes cause dysfunction. Alcohol- and drug-involved youth can have devastating effects on both parents and siblings. In addition, substance abuse can devastate a family’s emotional and financial resources.

Economic and social consequences

Youth substance abuse has high social and economic consequences. These are due to the financial loss and distress of victims of alcohol- or drug-related crimes, an increased burden on young adults and adolescents who cannot become self-supporting, and greater demand for treatment services.


Substance abuse and delinquency are closely linked. Many youths who abuse alcohol or other drugs will face the consequences such as arrest, adjudication, and intervention by the juvenile court system. However, substance abuse does not cause delinquency. Instead, the two behaviors are closely linked. They can often lead to school and family problems, involvement in negative peer groups, a loss of social control, or physical or sexual abuse.

All youth are prohibited from possessing or using alcohol or other drugs. There is strong evidence that alcohol and drug abuse are linked to juvenile delinquency. In addition, substance abuse is related to income-generating and violent crimes committed by youth. These increases fear in the community and the demand for juvenile or criminal justice services, thereby increasing the burden on these resources. Gangs, drug trafficking, and prostitution are just a few criminal and social justice issues often associated with adolescent substance misuse.

Talking about teen drug use

You will likely have many conversations about alcohol and drug use with your teenager. Pick times you are unlikely to be interrupted and put down your phones. You should also know when to cut off a conversation. This includes when you’re upset with your child, when you don’t have the answers, or when your child is drunk.

Talk to your teenager about drugs.

  • Get to know your teen. You should not lecture. Listen to your teen about his or her views and questions about drugs. Your teen should feel comfortable talking openly with you.
  • Discuss the reasons why you don’t use drugs. You shouldn’t scare your kids. Instead, stress that drug abuse can harm your teen’s ability to drive, play, and look good.
  • Think about media messages. Television programs, movies, and songs can glorify or trivialize drug abuse. Discuss what your teen hears and sees.
  • Talk about ways to resist peer pressure. Have a brainstorming session with your teen to discuss how to decline drug offers.
  • Talk about your drug use with your teenager. Consider how you will respond to a question about your drug use. Explain why you have chosen not to use drugs. If you have ever used drugs, please share the lessons learned.

Other preventive strategies

You might also consider other ways to stop teen drug abuse

  • Get to know your teen. Keep an eye on where your teen is. Encourage your teen to participate in adult-supervised activities.
  • Set up rules and consequences. You should explain your family’s rules. For example, don’t ride in a car with someone who has been using drugs. Consistently enforce the consequences for your teen who breaks the rules.
  • Get to know your teenager’s friends. Teens might feel pressured to experiment if their friends are using drugs.
  • Track prescription drugs. Make a list of all medications in your house.
  • Support your teen. Give praise and encouragement to him/her when he/she succeeds. Your teen may be more likely to stop using drugs if you have a strong relationship with him.
  • Set a good example. If you drink, do so in moderation. Only take prescription drugs as directed. Don’t use illicit drugs.

Recognize the warning signs of teenage drug abuse

You should be aware of red flags such as:

  • Extreme or sudden changes in friends, eating habits or sleeping patterns, or physical appearance, coordination, or school performance
  • Poor judgment, irresponsible behavior, and a general lack of interest
  • Breaking the rules or withdrawing from your family
  • The presence of medication containers or drug paraphernalia, even if there is no illness, in the room of your teenager

Treatment for drug abuse or dependence

Your doctor will determine the best treatment for your drug abuse or dependence based on the following:

  • Your health history, age, and overall health.
  • The severity of the symptoms
  • The extent of the dependence
  • Type of substance that was abused
  • Tolerance to specific medications, procedures, and therapies
  • Expectations regarding the course of the condition
  • Your opinion or preference

There are many types of treatment options for substance and alcohol abuse, including outpatient and inpatient. The type of substance used is usually the basis for which programs are considered. Successful treatment includes detoxification, depending on the substance abused.

Long-term follow-up management or medically assisted treatment is also critical. Formalized group meetings, support groups, and continued medical supervision are all part of long-term substance abuse treatment. In addition, psychotherapy is often recommended for both individual and family issues. Start your drug-free life today with Hathaway Recovery!


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  • Finally, Hathaway is a Treatment Center that offers a holistic approach to addiction. This center offers a safe place, community and a network to grow with throughout your recovery process. They make you feel that you are NOT alone. The leadership has been in your shoes!!! Hathaway Recovery is more than just a temporary fix, it is a foundation, a movement, a family to be a part of.

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  • Hathaway is a warm caring treatment oriented environment to receive help from various addictions and behavioral problematic issues. The location itself is serene and safe.. I enjoyed the both staff/professional’s and patient’s… It has many services available, a very unique place… I recommend anyone to come and receive long-term treatment here at Hathaway…

  • Hathaway Recovery is a very solid, very friendly place. My boyfriend decided to go here and has spent a significant amount of time at the recovery house. They are very good at bringing clients to meetings and on fun outings occasionally! Hathaway is committed to their clients’ recovery and their sobriety and to helping them in any way possible. They go above and beyond for the clients and I definitely would recommend considering Hathaway for your sobriety/recovery.

  • “There was no longer any doubt in my mind that I was in the right place for my drug abuse treatment, “Of all the rehabs I could have chosen, I am glad I picked The Hathaway Recovery Support hope respect and care is what i was offered thanks for everything Hathaway recovery you are the best

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    Hathaway Recovery is an exclusive addiction rehab treatment center in California offering healing recovery from all substances. We’re proud to provide a great combination for drug, alcohol, psychiatric and psychological recovery treatment backed by experts in the addiction treatment field. Our drug and alcohol rehab is built on the cornerstone of care and compassion and accommodates clients and their families from all backgrounds to educate, inform, and create change around substance use disorder. In a secluded mountain hill luxury resort, our facility offers a therapeutic environment and array of clinical modalities to help individuals and their families. Our staff are also multilingual to address the needs of clients from anywhere in the world.

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