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Pennsylvania has its share of teen drug and alcohol use, like every other state. Are you concerned that your teenager is abusing drugs or alcohol? If so, you’re not alone. The Pennsylvania Adolescent Behavioral Health In Brief published by the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that teens across the state are struggling with substance abuse.  Therefore, this includes a wide range of drug-related problems as a result.

They report that:

  • 10 percent of teens in Pennsylvania say they used an illicit substance in the past 30 days.
  • 29,000 boys and 33,000 girls used a prescription painkiller for a recreational purpose in the year prior to the survey.
  • About 2.2 percent of young women and 1.3 percent of young men in Pennsylvania reported signs of alcohol addiction in the past year.
  • Almost 17 percent of Pennsylvania teens reported alcohol use in the past 30 days, and more than 10 percent reported binge drinking.

Families in Pennsylvania are encouraged to take immediate action if they see that their child is using drugs or alcohol for any reason. Choosing a rehabilitation program that is tailor-made to meet the needs of those between the ages of 12 and 17 is the optimum choice. Contact us at Newport Academy today for more in-depth information on the services that will benefit your child.

Pennsylvania Drug Use Stats and Facts

Why is it such a big deal to put a stop to teen drug use and alcohol? The list of dangers they undertake while under the influence is lengthy. The damage to developing brains is immeasurable. It’s not a “normal part of growing up,” and it’s certainly not an issue that should be ignored. Pennsylvania Drug Control Update, published by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), reports drug use is an issue. Teens who experiment with drugs and alcohol in high school have a higher chance of growing up to be included in some of the following statistics:

  • Among Pennsylvania residents, 6.57 percent report the use of an illicit substance in the past month.
  • About 3.11 percent of Pennsylvanians say they used an illicit substance other than marijuana in the past 30 days.
  • Drug-related deaths including rates of overdose are higher in Pennsylvania than the national average.
  • More than 1,800 Pennsylvanians died in 2007. this number higher than the number of people who lost their lives to a vehicular accident or firearms that year.

Drugs of Use

The ONDCP reports that the following are the top drugs of choice in Pennsylvania, according to patients who enter drug treatment:

Note that marijuana is the number two drug of choice on the list. Among teens, marijuana is the second most abused substance, after alcohol.

Learning How to Say ‘No’

The Pennsylvania Attorney General provides suggestions for kids who want to get out of a situation where drugs and alcohol are present. They suggest that teens:

  • Recognize that any situation where drugs and alcohol are present is a serious one. It’s not a joke and bad things can happen.
  • Mentally remind themselves why they don’t want to drink or get high.
  • If someone keeps offering them a drink or drugs, they can suggest going and doing something else. Anything else as long as it’s safe and it doesn’t involve the person who has been drinking or using drugs getting behind the wheel.
  • If it continues, they can leave. Let them know that you’ll always come get them, and there won’t be negative consequences to them for doing the right thing and avoiding drug use.

Teaching Teens to Be Strong

One of the most difficult things for kids to do is figure out how to say “no” without sounding like they are immature or scared. Some possible things they can say to get out of the situation include:

  • “I can’t go. I’ll be grounded if I’m late. I’ll call you later.”
  • “My parents drug test me. If I get busted, I’ll be in so much trouble.”
  • “I’m on the track team (or football team or in gymnastics). I’ve got a game (or meet) this weekend and I don’t want to mess it up.”
  • “Nah, I’ll pass. I need all the brain cells I can get.”

Recognize the Signs of Teen Drug Abuse

Prep your child for how to handle a situation where drugs and alcohol are offered. Give them the right advice regularly. Institute boundaries and consequences for rule breaking at home. Model a positive example for your teen. You still may find yourself wondering if he or she has heeded your advice. The signs of drug abuse or addiction can often be confused with normal hormonal and mood changes. But dramatic mood swings, a tendency toward isolation, and fierce privacy are signs of something else. Therefore, we must be aware of the signs of substance use disorder.

According to a study published in the journal Innovations in Clinical Science, some signs of drug abuse include:

  • Paraphernalia of any kind. Cigar wrappers, roach clip, bent or burnt paperclips, burned spoons, small plastic bags, pill bottles, pills in unmarked containers, and more.
  • Dropping old friends for new friends. Old friends who are doing well –good grades, involved in extracurricular activities, etc.–may be dropped.
  • Stealing. Most teenagers don’t have much money, yet chronic drug use is an expensive habit to maintain.
  • Breaking house rules. From curfews to how they treat others in the house, kids who struggle with drug abuse may suddenly seem indifferent to threats of punishment.
  • Falling behind at school. Teens who abuse drugs and alcohol have a hard time maintaining their grades. Many get into trouble at school as well for things like skipping classes. They may be caught with drugs or alcohol on campus.
  • Extreme changes in behavior. Beyond the usual mood swings that fluctuate based on hormone levels, teens who abuse drugs will often exhibit extreme changes.
  • Differences in physical appearance. They may also lose or gain a large amount of weight or exhibit poor hygiene habits.
  • Changes in sleeping patterns.

Teen Drug and Alcohol Abuse Intervention: Begin Today

You have likely tried to impose stricter rules through an intervention. In addition, you’ve made it very clear that no drug or alcohol use is acceptable in the home. In conclusion, you’ve done all that you feel you can. If your teen is still continuing to struggle with substance abuse, the next step should be professional assistance.

Learn more about our teen-focused rehabilitation center at Newport Academy. Find out the benefits of treatment. Furthermore, we are here to help your child take the first step toward defining his life by balance and positive choices. Call now.