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Teen Drug Abuse Facts & Their Implications

Written by Seth Fletcher on January 8, 2016
Last update: February 26, 2024

teen drug abuse facts | teen substance abuse

Teen substance abuse in Canada is on the rise. According to Statistics Canada, 60% of illicit drug users in Canada are between 15 and 24 and that's one of the many teen drug abuse facts.

[Updated April 15, 2016]: We published an infographic talking about the drugs in Canada. Take a look.Popular illicit drugs in Canada include: Marijuana, Ketamine, LSD, Cocaine, Bath salts, Methamphetamine, GHB, Ecstasy and Alcohol. Of course, teens who abuse drugs are more likely to develop health problems such as:• Short term memory loss • Anxiety • Depression • Decreased appetite • Panic attacks • Psychomotor retardation • Psychosis • Cardiovascular disease • Liver damage • Hypoxia

Why Teens Use Illicit Drugs

Some experiment with illegal drugs for a short period. Others use them regularly and ultimately become addicted to drugs. With the help of our rehab, we have freed plenty of teens.The problem is not limited to kids who go to public schools. John Westland, a social worker at the Sick Kids Hospital, says that he has interacted with teen addicts who go to private and religious schools.Some teens take drugs to demonstrate their independence. Once again, this affects kids across all social levels. Kids from well-to-do families or poor families could dabble in drugs to demonstrate their independence. However, teens from families where one or both parents use drugs are at a greater risk of becoming addicts in the future. Teens could also use drugs as a form of escapism, to cope with stress or boredom.

What Effects Do Drugs Have On Teens?

In June 2015, the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse, an advisory council in Canada mandated to provide research on the harm of drugs and other addictive substances published a report [PDF Link] about the adverse effects of gateway drugs like Cannabis. Particularly stating these effects during adolescence to be problems in focusing attention and information processing, motor co-ordination difficulties, psychotic symptoms as well as other mental health issues.Treating or controlling teen substance abuse is quite expensive. Figures from the Health Officer’s Council of BC show that for every $5 spent on teen drug rehabilitation, $95 goes towards incarceration expenses. In addition, substance abuse costs the healthcare system $8 billion every year.Drug abuse is a leading cause of premature deaths. The Government of Saskatchewan’s Department of Health found that young people who use illegal drugs are 11 times more likely to commit suicide or overdose. Another study found that 54% of female drug addicts are likely to die prematurely.Young people involved in drugs are likely to drop out of school. Science Daily found that youth in 12th grade who use marijuana, alcohol, and other illegal drugs are likely to drop out of school. Moreover, these dropouts tend to become heavy users of illicit drugs compared to their peers in school.Science Daily also found that drug use among dropouts was 31.4% higher than teens who continue studying (18.2%).
Certified Addiction Counsellor

Seth brings many years of professional experience working the front lines of addiction in both the government and privatized sectors.

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