By: Nick
April 15, 2022

What are the Most Common Drugs Used by Teens?

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The teenage years can be very difficult to navigate for young people. With immense brain and body changes, increasing social and scholastic pressures, and increased responsibilities at home, many teenagers struggle with coping with their daily lives. For some young people, using substances is seen as one way to deal with the stresses of day-to-day life. While drugs and alcohol may provide temporary relief, in the long run, substances will do much more harm than good—and they can have long-lasting repercussions.


This article will explore drug addiction in teens and what are the most common drugs used by teens. Most importantly, we will discuss teen addiction treatment options if your young person needs professional help. Call the treatment professional at MCR toll-free today if you suspect your teen is addicted to drugs and alcohol.


Why is Teen Drug Abuse Common?

Teen drug abuse is a constant and significant health problem in the United States. The following statistics paint a shocking picture:

  • 2.08 million (8.33 percent) of 12- to 17-year-olds nationwide report using drugs in the last month.
  • 11.2% of overdose deaths are young people aged 15 to 24 years.
  • 1.19 million 12- to 17-year-olds report binge drinking in the last month.
  • 407,000 teenagers aged 12- to 17-years-old met the criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in the last year.


There are several common underlying factors on why teen drug abuse is common. One of the most common reasons is a history of active drug use within the family. In addition to current use, there can also be a history of legal or criminal consequences with family members who abuse drugs. Related to family, genetics can also play a role in teen drug addiction. While there isn’t an “addiction gene,” there may be particular genetic “quirks” within families that can make teens more vulnerable to substance abuse.


Another common reason for drug addiction in teens is peer pressure. During the teen years, young people feel the need to belong and be accepted by their peers. If a peer or peer group is using substances, there is a good chance that a teen will start using substances to fit in or to “be cool.” Teen addiction may also be related to school performance and getting an edge with “study drugs” such as Adderall to increase focus and study longer.


Additionally, teen drug abuse can occur due to underlying mental illness. According to information provided by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the most common mental disorders experienced by teenagers are mood, anxiety, attention, and behavioral disorders. Also of note is that suicide is the second leading cause of death for those aged 15-24.


What are the Most Common Drugs Used by Teens?

As a parent, you may wonder what are the most common drugs used by teens. There are several drugs that teens commonly use. Unsurprisingly, alcohol is a common drug abused by teens. According to data from the NIAAA, young people aged 12-20 account for 4 percent of alcohol consumption in the U.S. but are more prone to binge drink than all other age groups. Approximately 4.2 million young people in that age bracket reported to have binged on alcohol at least once in the past month.

Another common drug used by teens is marijuana. The CDC reports that 37% of high school students reported lifetime use of the drug, and 22 percent used marijuana in the past 30 days. Other drugs commonly abused by young people include the following:

  • Adderall
  • Ritalin
  • Prescription painkillers
  • Cocaine
  • Xanax


Are There Teen Addiction Treatment Programs?

If you have a son or daughter struggling with substance abuse, finding the right type of treatment program is critical. Teens have specific needs in a treatment setting, and a traditional adult-focused treatment program will not meet those needs. Instead, you need to focus on finding the specialized help found at a teen addiction treatment program. These programs feature evidence-based and research-tested programs administered by experienced staff who have many years of proven experience working with teenagers.


Teen drug abuse treatment programs feature essential services such as age-specific medical detoxification, therapies such as CBT and Motivational Interviewing, family therapy programs, and life and coping skills training. Since mental illness may be co-occurring with their substance abuse issues, many teen treatment centers feature mental health staff to work alongside addiction treatment staff. Teen treatment programs are offered in both inpatient and outpatient treatment settings, and your child’s program will be customized to fit their specific and unique needs.


How to Find Teen Addiction Programs Near Me

If you are looking for a teen addiction program for your child, you may feel overwhelmed and are unsure of where to turn for help. Fortunately, Multi-Concept Recovery is just a phone call away. We are a premier outpatient treatment facility located in Burbank, CA. We offer a variety of outpatient programs perfectly suited for your teenager. Whether it is substance abuse, mental health, or both issues, our experienced treatment team will create an integrated and dynamic Southern California outpatient treatment program best suited for their needs.

Call MCR today and give your teen the tools and support to transform their lives.