by Dominica Applegate
Many people are concerned about the high use of drugs among teens in America, as the statistics are not getting any better. Parents carry the most concern and rightly so, as most parents know that a life of addiction can be a miserable life full of a lot of heartache.
But what drugs are teenagers primarily using today? Are their new drugs taking over the scene? Today, let’s take a look at the most popular drugs that teens are getting addicted to. You may be surprised that the most dangerous of such drugs are absolutely legal to purchase.
Alcohol is one of the most popular drugs among teens and is legal to purchase for those over the age of 21. It is surprising to find out how many parents don’t think it’s a big deal to let their teens drink here and there, as they feel that social drinking is not a big deal. What they don’t know is that research shows that teens that start drinking younger than 15 years old are four times more likely to become alcoholics when they grow up than those who started drinking at age 21. 
They don’t understand that alcohol is an addictive drug and the more often a teen drinks, the more likely he or she will become addicted to it.
Marijuana is a popular drug that teens use and it is the most illegal used drug in the whole world. In fact, a 2012 survey reports that almost half of 12th graders have tried marijuana at least once in their lives. Getting pot from dealers at school or in the community is not that complicated, so getting hands on the drug is not that challenging.
THC is the active chemical in cannabis that is addictive. When inhaled or ingested, a person will get “high”, which essentially means he will feel light, happier, and spaced out. At the same time, sometimes marijuana can cause people to feel paranoid, depressed, or psychotic. Marijuana has been called “the gateway drug” for many years now, with experts believing that teens who smoke pot will eventually go on to try “harder” drugs.
Though marijuana is not as addictive as some other drugs, teens can and do become addicted to it.
- Synthetic marijuana
- Synthetic marijuana hasn’t been on the scene for too many years, but it poses a serious threat to teens and young adults. You may have heard of this called K2, Spice, plant food, or fake pot, and you may not have thought much about it. But slowly the word is getting out that synthetic marijuana is quite deadly and teens have been showing up in Emergency Rooms all over the country with serious symptoms. Some have even died. In fact, in the year 2010, emergency room visits from synthetic drug use increased 230 percent.
Those that make synthetic marijuana use chemicals that are considered legal in order to get around the law. The drug looks a lot like regular marijuana or herbal tobacco. It comes from dried up plant materials and herbs that are chopped up. The manufacturers package these in colorful foil packs that look appealing to teens. They also sell liquid incense products, similar to e-cigarette liquids.  The harmful chemicals, which are comprised of over 700 research chemicals, are then sprayed onto the plant material.
Spice may also be called Scooby Snax, Annihilation, Black Mamba, Mojo, and more than 500 more names. Teens are also vaping synthetic marijuana in liquid form.
While many parents may not associate tobacco with a drug their teen is using, it’s actually a very popular drug that teens get addicted to. The nicotine found in cigarettes is highly addictive and many smokers find it very challenging to quit smoking. Research also indicates that teens that smoke are more likely than non-smokers to try other drugs like marijuana, alcohol, and more. In addition, there are various ways teens use tobacco, such as cigarettes, e-cigs, hookahs, and smokeless tobacco.
- Prescription drugs
There has been a rise of prescription drug use among teens over the last decade, with teens trying all sorts of drugs they get from school or from home. Common prescription drugs include pain pills like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Hydrocodone, anti-anxiety pills like Xanax, cough medicine, amphetamines, Adderal, Ritalin, and more.
One reason that more teens become addicted to such drugs is because doctors prescribe them for things like anxiety, depression, pain, and so on. The teens feel that the drugs are safer because a doctor prescribed them, so they’re more likely to abuse them. A big problem is that once they become addicted, it can be quite challenging for them to stop.
Another real risk is when the teens mix the pills with alcohol. This can be very dangerous and deadly.
There are plenty of other drugs that teens can become addicted to, but these 5 are the most popular according to substance abuse experts. If you feel your teen is struggling with drug addiction, please have a conversation with him/her and reach out for help if you need support. There is help and hope available for teens and their families when it comes to drug addiction.