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10 Most Commonly Abused Drugs

Teenage Drug Abuse

Commonly Abused Drugs by TeensTeenage drug abuse continues to be a major problem in the United States. Statistics from the National Institute on Drugs show that the decline of teen drug use seen in the late 90s and early 2000s is again on the rise, especially marijuana and prescription drugs. Here are the ten drugs most commonly abused by teenagers, and the warning signs every parent should be looking out for:

1. Alcohol

Alcohol is the number one most commonly abused drug by teenagers. 50% of high school teens have reported using alcohol. Alcohol impairs judgment and reasoning capabilities. Long term abuse can lead to alcoholism, liver damage, and heart disease. Signs of abuse are loss of coordination, slurred speech, nausea or vomiting, and hangover symptoms.

2. Marijuana

1 in 3 high school students have reported using marijuana. Marijuana is popular because teens believe that it is not dangerous, impairing, or addicting. This is completely untrue. Marijuana can be addictive and can cause learning problems, memory problems, paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions. Signs of abuse are slower thinking & reaction time, impaired coordination, and bloodshot eyes.

3. Prescription Pain Killers

1 in 5 teens have reported using prescription pain killers such as Vicodin, Codeine, and Percocet. These medications are in the opiate family and can be just as dangerous and addicting as heroin. Accidental overdose can cause respiratory suppression, coma, and death. Signs of abuse can be disrupted eating and sleeping patterns, and missing pills from a family member’s prescription.

4. Inhalants

1 in 6 high school students have reported using inhalants, also known as “huffing.” Commonly used products are paint thinner, nail polish remover, glue, and the aerosol from whipped cream cans. Inhalants can cause significant damage to heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver. Signs of abuse can include a drunken or dazed appearance, and missing household products.

5. Ecstasy

1 in 8 teens reported using Ecstasy. Ecstasy can cause dehydration, heart failure, and liver failure. Signs of abuse include anxiety, sweating, and chills, as well as unusual displays of affection.

6. Cocaine/Crack

1 in 9 high school students have reported using cocaine or crack cocaine. Abuse can cause heart attack, stroke, and seizures. Signs of abuse include nervousness, restlessness, increased energy levels, runny nose, and nose bleeds.

7. Prescription Stimulants

1 in 10 teenagers have reported using prescription stimulants such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine. These drugs are commonly prescribed for ADHD. Abuse can cause irregular heartbeat, heart attack, and seizures. Signs of abuse include diminished appetite and increased alertness and energy levels.

8. Prescription Sedatives

1 in 11 teens have reported using prescription sedatives such as Valium, Xanax, and Quaaludes. Sedatives slow brain activity, and can suppress respiratory function. Signs of abuse can include shallow breathing, slurred speech, lack of coordination, and disorientation.

9. Methamphetamine

1 in 14 high school students have reported using methamphetamine. Long term use can cause psychotic episodes, delusions, hallucinations, and violent behavior, as well as insomnia and stroke. Signs of abuse include nervousness, nervous activity, insomnia, decreased appetite, and open sores or scabs on body.

10. Steroids and Heroin

While two completely different types of drugs, steroids and heroin tie for tenth place, both with 1 in 20 teenagers having reported usage. Steroids can cause physical characteristics of the opposite sex, heart attack, and stroke. Signs of steroid abuse include rapid muscle growth and extreme irritability. Heroin is highly addictive and can have dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Heroin can suppress respiratory functions, and is particularly dangerous due to the unknown purity of the drug. Signs of heroin abuse are slurred speech, vomiting, and track marks from injections.

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