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Consequences of teen drug abuse
Adolescents who misuse drugs often face scholastic challenges, health issues (including mental health), bad peer
connections, and participation with the juvenile justice system. There are also ramifications for family,
community, and society.
Adolescent drug misuse is linked to poor academic performance, absence from school and other activities, and
higher risk of dropping out. For example, Hawkins, Catalano, and Miller (1992) report that poor school
dedication and increased truancy rates among teenagers may be linked to drug use. Adolescents with cognitive
and behavioral issues may not only struggle academically, but also hinder their peers’ ability to learn (Bureau of
Justice Statistics, 1992).
Accidental injuries, physical deformities and illnesses, and potential overdoses are among health-related risks of
juvenile drug usage. Adolescents who use alcohol or other drugs suffer an increased chance of mortality by
suicide, murder, accident, or sickness.
The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) research shows trends in patients seeking ER care for illicit drug
use or nonmedical use of authorized pharmaceuticals. Preliminary 1994 figures show a 17% rise in drug-related
ED visits for 12-17 year olds. Among the oldest age groups, this growth was the greatest. Between 1993 and
1994, marijuana/hashish-related ER visits for 12-17-year-olds jumped 50%. (McCaig, 1995). In 1993, 91 12- to
17-year-olds died from drug misuse (Office of Applied Studies, 1994).
HIV/AIDS is spread via sexual contact with an infected individual or by sharing unsterile drug-injection
equipment. Primary transmission occurs during pregnancy or delivery from mothers to babies. Many substanceabusing teenagers engage in behaviors that put them at risk for HIV/AIDS and other STDs. This may involve
the use of psychoactive chemicals (especially those injected) or poor judgment and impulsive control when
using mood-altering substances. Compared to other age groups, adolescent AIDS diagnoses are now low. Due to
the disease’s lengthy latency period, it is probable that many young people with AIDS were infected as teens.