Understanding Youth Drug & Alcohol Use
Why do drugs become a problem?
No one ever chooses to have a drug problem. Likewise when drug or alcohol use becomes a problem for a young person it’s always something more than just ‘bad luck’.
Young people use drugs for a bunch of reasons and although even experimental use has the potential for harm, for most young people drugs are unlikely to ever be an issue.
For those that do develop problems there is no one single cause, instead a range of factors can contribute to problems. Young people with drug related problems usually have at least one or two things going on in other areas of their lives such as emotional health concerns, family problems, housing issues or school or job difficulties.
Even though it might seem obvious to you that drug use makes things worse or creates problems of its own, for young people who have developed problems, drug use usually started as a way of meeting a real and understandable need. Fitting in, managing and coping with difficult thoughts and feelings, relieving pain, relieving stress and anxiety and managing social situations are just some reasons young people use drugs. Problems tend to develop when young people don’t have opportunities to develop other ways of meeting these needs.
Young people who develop drug problems need understanding and support. Check out this info on how you might be able to help and talk to YoDAA if you think drugs or alcohol are becoming a problem for someone you care about.