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Unfortunately, addiction can affect those of all ages. Every single day it seems there are younger and younger individuals becoming addicted to substances, both legal and illicit. Such is the case with large amounts of high school students who are becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol.
The rates of use and abuse of drugs and alcohol by high school students have fluctuated greatly through the years, but they remain high enough for it to be a concern. According to the Monitoring the Future Survey, “Past-year use of alcohol was reported by 17.6 percent, 38.3 percent, and 55.6 percent of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, respectively, compared to 26.9 percent, 49.8 percent, and 63.5 percent in 2011. Daily alcohol use decreased significantly among 12th graders to 1.3 percent, and binge drinking (consuming five or more drinks sometime in the past 2 weeks) declined among 8th graders to 3.4 percent.” So, as shown, stats have declined a significant amount, but they are still not ideal whatsoever.
Why High Schoolers Begin to Use Drugs or Alcohol
The reasons that addiction comes about within high school students can vary greatly. It could be a rough home life where they are abused, or their parents using drugs, resulting in them seeking refuge in substances for themselves. It could also be the social pressures that are heavily present within school environments, otherwise known as peer pressure. High school students who use drugs or alcohol can often pressure their friends or schoolmates into using, whether it be to fit in, or because it is considered cool. Or it could simply be due to experimentation. Drugs or alcohol can often be a curiosity for those of a younger age, bringing them to potentially try them to see what it is like. Unfortunately, this kind of considerations can also be held by the adults in the student’s life. A parent may not step in strictly to curb the problem, but rather view it as a phase that their child will grow out of. This often allows the problem to continue to fester and grow into an actual addiction when simply having the talk with them about drugs and alcohol could have possibly ceased or mitigated the problem.
While many of these high school students may simply experiment with drugs or alcohol for a short time and then never use again, or use very sparingly. But the reality is that for many, addiction is fostered at a very young age. There is a multitude of these students that may grow to develop addictions due to their early usage of substances. When an individual begins at this young age, they may begin to use more and more of the substance, which develops into a severe addiction. Long time addicts often mention that their first use began at a much younger age.
A large barrier that tends to arise when it comes to lowering addiction in high schools is the lack of counselors to help these students. In fact, there tends to be a shortage of the needed amount of counselors in many schools across the country. For example, an article from the Pal-Item, an Indiana newspaper, states, “The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) recommends a 250:1 student-to-counselor ratio, but only one Wayne County public school district is anywhere close to that number, with a 376:1 ratio.” This is only one example of the shortage that is going on in every state. The reality is that school counselors can greatly help not only these substance using students but many others as well. Having enough counselors to address the students struggling with addiction is critical to being able to reduce the numbers of the problem even further.
Let Us Help You Find Treatment for Your Addiction
While addiction can be a very arduous and difficult condition to struggle with, it is never impossible to overcome it. Inpatient rehab centers offer help that can provide the best chance at achieving a long and sober life. There is a multitude of different types of treatment centers out there that offer various modalities and treatments. Addiction is not a one size fits all condition, which is why cookie cutter treatment centers generally have lower rates of success. It is important that an addict attends a treatment center that will align with their wants and needs. Our staff can help explain the different options and modalities so that the best center can be found for you or your loved one. Take the first steps toward sobriety, and give us a call today.