Substance abuse is a scary topic and one that many parents do not want to have to face when it comes to their children. Unfortunately, due to social media and other environmental factors, obtaining drugs is easier than ever. Children may fall victim to experimentation and substance abuse issues, as a result of social pressures and the need to fit in. They may also turn to substances as a way to cope with mental health challenges. 

After the pandemic, mental health challenges have increased across the nation, especially in young adults. To help overcome the struggles, teens have been turning to drugs and alcohol as ways to help manage their feelings. As a parent, it is important for you to understand substance abuse signs and what this can mean for your teenager.


While some children will experiment with drugs and alcohol as a form of escapism or as a way to cope, others simply try these substances to experiment with their bodies. This can be extremely dangerous especially since there has been a rise in roofing and lacing drugs and alcohol. Even if your child only experiments with substances once or twice, if they get ahold of a laced substance, this can lead to serious health complications including death. (1)

Pressure from Social Groups and the Media

It’s no secret that there has been a rise in pressure when it comes to teenagers feeling the need to fit in with friends and “elite” social scenes. Kids are growing up faster and faster these days, making it important to be in the know as a parent or guardian. One way that children try to conform to these pressures is by turning to drug and alcohol use. 

Many vape manufacturers and companies also market their products specifically toward teenagers, by offering these substances and fun flavors, colors, and packaging. If you noticed your child hanging out with an unusual group of friends different from their typical tribe, keep a close eye on their behavior and look out for any changes in behavior. (2)

Escapism Dangers

For children who are suffering from mental health problems or other difficulties in their personal lives, turning to substance abuse can seem easier than speaking with a parent or counselor to get professional help. When children try to handle big issues on their own, it can oftentimes lead some down the wrong path. If you are noticing a change in your child’s behavior, be sure to talk to them and make sure they know to utilize you as a support system when times get tough. (3)

Addiction and Family History 

Addiction is a disease, there’s no doubt about it. This means that substance abuse problems can be passed down generations or family lines. If addiction and abuse run in your family history, this is not a sign to ignore. You will want to keep an especially close eye on your child in all aspects of their life. Addiction doesn’t have to come in the form of substance abuse, as people can get addicted to other activities such as eating, sleeping, or even over-exercising.

Supporting Your Teen 

When it comes to supporting your teen as they grow older and engage in new social situations, it is important that you stay present in their lives. Always make sure that they know to come to you as an active support system when times get tough. Speak with your child’s physician to come up with an action plan if you suspect your child to be abusing substances or experimenting in social situations. For additional support, contact Neurobehavioral Associates today



  1. Dealing With Addiction (For Kids) – Nemour KidsHealth
  2. SAMHSA’s National Helpline – SAMHSA
  3. Teen Drug Use: Help Your Teen Avoid Drugs – Mayo Clinic