Know The Facts.

9 out of 10 people with a substance use disorder started using drugs or alcohol before they turned 18.
*Tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana are the first addictive substances most people try.

“When I drink it’s like a hug. It’s like I’m receiving love and comfort that I never had… It makes me forget that my brother is in jail for life…and that my best friend was shot and killed in front of my house.” — Anna, 17 years old

For many adolescents and teens, substances are a way of coping with the pain of isolation, bullying, physical abuse and mental health conditions. They often turn to alcohol and drugs because adolescents are “biologically wired” to seek new experiences and take risks without thinking about the consequences. And it is proven that the earlier young people begin using drugs, the greater likelihood of them developing a substance use disorder later in life.

Understanding the health and safety risks of alcohol and drug misuse is the first step to reducing the risk of addiction. It starts with knowing the facts.

Know The Facts

Factors Influencing Adolescent Drug Experimentation

  • Drug availability in their neighborhood, community, and school.
  • Friends are using.
  • Desire for new experiences.
  • Family environment: violence, physical or emotional abuse, mental illness, drug use in household.
  • Genetic vulnerability: poor
  • Impulse control, high need for excitement, and mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety.
  • Beliefs that drugs are “cool” or harmless.

Facts About Teen Drug Use

The percentage of high school seniors who have tried alcohol & other drugs:

  • 70% have tried alcohol
  • 50% will have taken an illegal drug
  • 40% will have smoked a cigarette
  • 20% will have used a prescription drug for a nonmedical purpose

FACT: More than 90% of people who have an addiction started to drink alcohol or use drugs before they were 18 years old and developed their disorder by age 20.

Risks & Impact of Teen Drug Use

  • Sleep issues
  • Memory loss
  • Learning difficulty
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Chance of developing an addiction
  • Violence
  • Risky behaviors
  • Risk of developing mental disorders
  • Social difficulties
  • Relating to others

Teen drug use can impair memory or thinking ability, derail their social and educational development and hold him or her back in life.

Chronic marijuana use in adolescence has been shown to lead to a loss of IQ that is not recovered even if the person quits using in adulthood.

These potentially lifelong consequences make addressing adolescent drug use an urgent matter. At Phoenix House, we are focused on prevention and early intervention programs to fight the disease of addiction.