A new study published in the journal Pediatrics reports that one in three young adults in the United States has an arrest record. Among those who are 18 years of age, 25 percent (or one in four) have been arrested but among those who are 23 years of age, the rate of arrests is between 33 and 41 percent. And that doesn’t include speeding tickets or any other traffic violations.
Unfortunately, most kids who get in trouble with the law do so because they are drinking or abusing drugs. In some cases, it is possession and sales that land the child in handcuffs. In most cases, however, it is choices they made under the influence that are the problem, like breaking into cars, petty theft, arson and vandalism. Parents, teachers and pediatricians who are vigilant for early signs of drug abuse may be able to help their teen avoid an early arrest by getting them the treatment they need as soon as they recognize a problem.
Why Are Kids Drinking and Using Drugs?
Just like the arrests don’t come out of nowhere, neither does the alcohol and drug abuse.
Robert Brame was the lead researcher on the study published in Pediatrics that identified the high number of arrests. He says: “We don’t think that kids get arrested in isolation, we’re assuming that other issues are going on in their lives and we want pediatricians to be aware and try to understand and start a broader discussion about what’s going on in the lives of young people.”
Some of the issues instigating negative behavior in teens may include:
- Divorce. Problems between parents, changes in homes, moving, court issues, anger and fighting – all of these can add up to a high amount of stress for a teenager. Rather than just sit in that emotion, many self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.
- Social issues. Having a hard time fitting in with peers or feeling awkward and unsure of himself, your teen may end up drinking and using in order to feel better in social situations.
- Mental health problems. Many symptoms of mental health disorders begin to show up during the teen years but are overlooked because they are often similar to “normal” teen hormonal changes.
When parents and pediatricians work together to identify changes and discuss issues as they come up, teens can undergo screening, therapy and other treatments that may help them to avoid the pitfalls of drugs and alcohol. If addiction or chronic drug abuse is an issue, a teen-focused drug rehab may be the answer. Contact us at Newport Academy today for more information.