Freshman discusses substance use


Kori Keeter, Opinions Editor

In the media, substance use is portrayed as cool and fun, and teens often feel that using substances that are only legal for adults makes them more mature.
Parents will do anything to ensure their children are healthy and successful like insisting they use sunscreen, requiring they wear seat belts and providing anything they need. But substance use is often considered normal or just something everybody experiments with at some point.
Substance use is not uncommon among teens. The most common is alcohol, but also includes marijuana, nicotine and many others.
Many teens feel that there aren’t enough long-term effects to be concerned about, and that they are immune to serious health problems because they are young. While it often seems such a trivial concern, adolescents are among the highest age group at risk of addiction, according to the Midwest Detox Center.
Consequences of substance use include changes in school performance, poor judgement, drug dependence, impaired driving, mental disorders and can clearly lead to problems with the law.
Alcohol use often leads to impaired driving, along with impaired judgment, potential property damage and possible negative effects on brain development.
Marijuana use may result in poor health outcomes and potentially interfere with brain development and functioning.
According to the CDC, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States today. While cigarette use among adolescents has decreased, use of e-cigarettes and vapes has risen dramatically.
Teens take substances for various reasons like curiosity, boredom or trying to escape the stress of their day-to-day life. Peer pressure is a common cause and drives many students to make unwise decisions to be accepted by their friend groups.
It can be difficult for parents to talk about substance use with their kids, but presenting clear boundaries and consequences is very important. Students need someone to talk to, and consistency in the enforcement of discipline is essential to maintaining healthy boundaries.