Why Do People Start Hard Drugs?
There are many reasons that teens begin to use drugs. Some teens may think that using drugs helps them to fit in or appear “cool.” Others use drugs as a way to feel grown up or to rebel. Drug use can also be a result of a need for instant gratification. People with various mental health illnesses may turn to different substances to try and manage the feelings of depression, anxiety, paranoia and/or agitation that accompany their illness. Most commonly, drugs are used as a way to escape from emotional pain and difficult situations that users have dealt with or continue to deal with. Many people who use drugs feel very alone in their lives and do not have healthy, secure, close relationships with others.
MedicineNet.com also lists the following as causes and risk factors of teen drugs use:
Family risk factors for teenagers engaging in drug abuse include low parent supervision or communication, family conflicts, inconsistent or severe parental discipline, and family history of alcohol or drug abuse. Individual risk factors include any history of physical or sexual victimization, learning or emotional problems, difficulty managing impulses, emotional instability, thrill-seeking behaviors, and perceiving the risk of using drugs to be low.
There are various reasons people may turn to harder drugs. Sometimes it is because the effect of whatever drug they are currently using isn’t enough to help that person numb out to whatever they want to escape, so a gateway drug turns into something harder. Sometimes people, especially teens and young adults, try harder drugs because they are not educated about the dangers of the particular drug they are trying – such as the potential for overdose or potential to become quickly addicted (like with heroin).
If you have additional questions or concerns about this issue, please speak with a trusted adult such as your school nurse, school health teacher, doctor or a parent or guardian.
For additional information, read the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids article, Top 8 Reasons Why Teens Try Alcohol and Drugs. You can also check out the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) for Teens website for information on various drugs.