Recent studies show adolescent substance abuse in Maryland is a serious problem. Equally disturbing, thousands of teens in this state have not received any treatment for their alcohol and drug abuse.
Recent statistics show within that last month, approximately 41,000 Maryland teens have used illegal drugs; approximately fifteen percent of teens drank alcohol; and up to 24,000 teenagers abused prescription pain medications.
The study concluded that 21,000 teens who needed addiction treatment did not receive it, and 25,000 teens who needed alcoholism treatment did not receive it.
While studies and statistics can vary, it should be easy to see substance abuse is a serious problem among the youth population, and more needs to be done to address these issues.
Second, parents and other adults need to have and maintain a zero-tolerance policy for adolescent drug and alcohol use. Adults must let teens know there is no such thing as a safe drug, and no safe level of use.
Parents and other adults also need to set a good example. While peer pressure influences a teen’s decisions about what they do, teens also watch and listen to the adults in their lives. If you want your teenager to avoid substances, do not use them yourself.
Third, teenagers who are already experimenting with drugs and alcohol must stop before they develop full-blown addictions. If a teenager cannot stop, or refuses to do so, he can benefit from an adolescent treatment program.
A treatment program can help the teen get clean and sober. It can also help him understand why he should avoid these things in the future. When he is in an adolescent treatment program, the teen can begin learning to make healthier choices, resolve problems connected to his addiction, continue his education, and set goals for his future.
If your teenager, or a teen you know, is dealing with a substance dependency, now is the time to address the issue. If he is not yet addicted, he can overcome his problem and put his life back together. A treatment program designed specially for young people is available to help him every step of the way.
You can help by educating yourself, your children, and your community about adolescent substance abuse in Maryland. Youngsters who are using substances can be helped, and teens who have not started can learn to avoid substance abuse. Education and action are the ways to reduce alcohol and drug use in teenagers. Whether you have teenagers yourself, or are simply concerned about this problem, you can do your part.