Teen Drug Abuse

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Quick GuideTeen Drug Abuse: Statistics, Facts, Warning Signs, and Symptoms

Teen Drug Abuse: Statistics, Facts, Warning Signs, and Symptoms

What are the dangerous effects of drug use in teens?

Here are just a few of the many dangerous effects of drug use in adolescents:

  • Drugs of any kind decreases teens' ability to pay attention.
  • The younger a person is when they begin using drugs the more likely they are to develop a substance-abuse problem and the more likely they are to relapse into drug abuse when trying to quit.
  • Juveniles who use drugs are more likely to have unprotected sex, sex with a stranger, as well as to engage in sexual activity at all. This, in turn, puts them at risk for pregnancy, rape commission or victimization, and for sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Substance use can cause or mask other emotional problems, like anxiety, depression, mood swings, or hallucinations (for example, hearing or seeing things). Either of those illnesses can result in death by suicide or homicide.
  • Anabolic steroids have been associated with impotence in boys and men, clitoral enlargement in girls and women, as well as baldness, stunted growth, heart attacks, strokes, liver disease, cancer, acne and infections, including HIV/AIDS in both sexes.
  • Depending on how the body takes in and processes each kind of drug, substances of abuse can affect virtually every one of the body's systems. Examples of this include permanent brain damage associated with inhalants, heart attack or stroke from stimulants, halted breathing from sedatives. Any of these problems can result in death.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/18/2015

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  • Teen Drug Abuse - Treatments

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  • Teen Drug Abuse - Prevention

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  • Teen Drug Abuse - Drug Types

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  • Teen Drug Abuse - Parental Prevention

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  • Teen Drug Abuse - Signs and Symptoms

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  • Teen Drug Abuse - Treatment

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  • Teen Drug Abuse - Help for Teens

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