Current Drug Trends Among Youth

Drug Trends Among Youth – Dangerous Drugs and What You Can Do as a Parent

Substance abuse among the youth of America has been holding steady since 2001. In 2017, the rates of abuse among 8th, 10th and 12th graders were 5.8 percent, 9.4 percent and 13.3 percent respectively. Of course, monitoring drug trends among youth is important to be able to adjust drug awareness strategies and to be aware of something that could be affecting your child.

In this article, we will take a closer look at teen drug use in the United States.

Synthetic Drugs

This category of drugs is fairly new, and this generation is the first to experience the consequences. Synthetic drugs are created to mimic popular drugs such as marijuana but are far more dangerous. Manufacturers of synthetic drugs are constantly changing their recipes to avoid various laws that are meant to control their sale. There is also no telling what’s in each batch, which is one of the reasons why they are so dangerous. Among the most dangers of the synthetic drugs are bath salts.

Synthetic drug trends among youth showed a decrease over the last few years: in 2011, 12th graders’ use of synthetic drugs went down from 11.4 percent to 3.7 percent.


Another of the new drugs to be abused by teens is Kratom. It was advertised as an organic pain-reliever but has since been classified as an opioid. Teens are buying it online with little awareness of the dangers since many believe that it isn’t an opioid. Like all opioids, Kratom is highly addictive and something to watch for in the drug trends among youth.


Compared to 1996 when hallucinogen teen drug use was at its peak, there has been a decline in the overall use of drugs such as LSD. However, more recently, there has been a resurgence of LSD abuse. LSD is a drug that creates vivid hallucinations and can bring about delusions and psychosis.


In the drug trends among youth, opioids remain the number one concern amidst the opioid crisis in the United States. In the youth, opioids are often abused with alcohol making them even more at risk of respiratory failure. Opioids include all opioid-based prescription painkillers and heroin. The most dangerous opioid is fentanyl. It is the leading cause of opioid-related deaths in the United States.

However, teens are reporting that it isn’t as easy to get opioids as it was before due to stricter prescription policies. In 2010, 54 percent of the youth reported that they could easily get a hold of opioids compared to only 35.8 percent in 2017.

Signs of Addiction in Youth

As a parent, what can you do to help your teen with drug abuse? It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find the supply of drugs. Today, it’s possible to order any drug online. One of the things that you can do as a parent is paying attention to signs that there may be substance abuse present.

The signs of addiction in youth can be difficult to spot, but the following looks at what you should focus on:

  • Since a computer or similar device can be the source of their drugs, if you suspect drug use, then checking their browsing history and suspicious looking files on their computer is prudent. If you’re unsure of something you’ve found, check online or ask your child about it.
  • Changes in behavior are one of the signs of substance abuse, especially when it comes on very suddenly. This can include a drop in school performance, sleep disturbances, and their general mood.
  • Talk to your kids about drug use. Explain the dangers, why you don’t use any and what the consequences will be if they were caught using drugs.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.


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