Teen Substance Use and Risks
With the stresses of peer pressure, physical changes and self-discovery, teens today are particularly at risk for abusing drugs, alcohol and other substances.
As defined by Youth.gov, a U.S. government website that helps citizens create, maintain and strengthen effective youth programs, substance abuse is the harmful pattern of using substances – such as tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, and prescription drugs – leading to impairment or distress with one or more of the following factors:
- Recurrent substance use resulting in failure to fulfill major responsibilities at work, school, or home such as repeated absences, suspension, and expulsion
- Recurrent substance use in situations where it is physically dangerous, such as driving while impaired
- Recurrent substance-related legal problems, such as arrests for disorderly conduct that are substance-related
- Continued substance use despite having persistent or recurring social or personal problems caused or worsened by substance use
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the effects of substance abuse on the developing minds and bodies of young people can have a lasting negative impact on their lives. Risks of substance abuse can do the following:
- Affect the growth and development of teens, especially brain development
- Occur more frequently with other risky behaviors, such as sexual activity and dangerous driving
- Contribute to the development of adult health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleep disorders
- The earlier teens start using substances, the greater their chances of continuing to use substances and developing substance use problems/addictions later in life
Just Say YES Drug and Alcohol Prevention Programs
Many of our Just Say YES school assembly programs cover the topics of drug, alcohol and substance abuse. They not only present the dangerous facts to students, but also educate them on how to make right choices by listening to right voices. Our positive approach to prevention equips students with the inspiration and confidence they need in order to achieve greater success, without the damaging effects of drugs, tobacco, alcohol and/or other substances. Whether it is a classroom of 30 students or a gymnasium of 1,000, Just Say YES Speakers have an incredible gift of meeting student’s right where they are in life. The speakers share their unique personal stories of achieving success by overcoming adversity (e.g. drugs, abusive families, homelessness and poverty), and can cover any topic specific to a school’s needs.