Teens and Drugs

Why do teens use drugs?

Cannabis in glass pipe, uploaded by an anonymous Reddit user on April 27, 2017

Cannabis in glass pipe, uploaded by an anonymous Reddit user on April 27, 2017

Cameron Norton

Teenagers use drugs for a lot of different reasons, and one of the most common misconceptions is that students start because of peer pressure, which is simply untrue. While it’s true that most students do use for the first time in a social situation, it’s normally not because of peer pressure. What people have done is come to the conclusion that because most people use with others they’ve never met before, they must be using because of peer pressure. This doesn’t make sense at all when you start to look at it deeper though.

For example, most people start using when they have a friend that has a friend that has a dealer that can hook them up with whatever. Because teenagers buying drugs isn’t exactly a professional business deal, they normally meet in person at the dealer’s house, where they then use. However, trust me, no one is going to walk up to you and ask if you want to do drugs. You can find a dealer if you really want to, there’s no doubting that, but only if you want to. The reason that most teenagers find themselves in a position where they are offered drugs is because they put themselves in that situation.

You should still take in mind, however, that no one is going to force feed you any sort of narcotic. It’s just not gonna happen. Drugs aren’t candy, they cost money. People aren’t going to force you to use after they went to great lengths to get whatever they’re offering you, spent their own money, and risked getting caught. Being offered drugs and accepting is not the same as being peer pressured into using. Now that we’ve gone over the fact that peer pressure isn’t a large factor in teenage drug use, let’s look at what is.

Mental health plays a huge role in teenage drug use, and it’s the true driving factor behind it. When people are offered drugs, it’s not the amount of refusal skills they’re taught that matters, or their upbringing, but rather the place their brain is at in the moment. Usually when someone is offered drugs, it truly is experimentation, which is a perfectly normal thing. Most people would have you believe that if you try it once, it’s going to permanently affect your future in a negative way and destroy your life, which just isn’t true.

When asked on the matter, a teenager I found smoking pot on some random street corner (you kids really need to find a better place to smoke) was quoted as saying, “Despite what a lot of people think, weed, or any other drug doesn’t ruin your life nearly as much as a lot of people would have you believe. I have all As, one B, and I’m in three honors classes. I didn’t get peer pressured into smoking weed, I wanted to try it, and I smoke around once a month.” The student assured me that he wasn’t addicted and that he had never done anything else aside from smoking cannabis and had no desire to.

At the end of the day, is teenage drug use a problem? Of course it is, but when we criminalize it instead of treating it like what it is and helping people through it, it only makes teens better at hiding it and more ashamed of their actions. We outcast them instead of giving them the help they need, and that doesn’t solve anything. Peer pressure is only a factor in a handful of rare circumstances, and when we blame it for teenage drug use, we demonize the people our society is supposedly trying to help.


Top Ten Drugs Used by Teens

  1. Alcohol
  2. Cannabis
  3. Nicotine
  4. Amphetamines (methamphetamine, Adderall, Focalin, ect.)
  5. Prescription Opioids (OxyContin, Vicodin, ect.)
  6. Tranquilizers
  7. Spice
  8. Hallucinogens (Shrooms, Acid, L
  9. Inhalants
  10. Dextromethorphan (DXM)