Substance Use

Substance Use

Many children and adolescents use alcohol and other drugs.  Some develop serious problems which require professional treatment. The younger kids start using drugs and alcohol, the more likely they are to develop serious problems with abuse and addiction later on. And, other psychiatric disorders often co-exist with substance abuse problems and need assessment and treatment. Fortunately, there are excellent resources for parents who want to prevent their kids from using drugs, and for those who believe their children are abusing drugs and alcohol and need help.

Drugs and alcohol contribute to a host of problems for our children, including:

  • Poor academic performance
  • Memory and learning problems
  • Truancy and absenteeism
  • Problems with family and peer relationships and lack of empathy for others
  • A tendency to engage in other risky activities and to feel invulnerable
  • An increased risk for moving on to more dangerous drugs, and developing dependency or addiction
  • While all children are at risk of using drugs and alcohol, the following risk factors significantly increase the chance that a child will develop a serious alcohol or drug problem:
  • Having a family history of substance abuse, dependency or addiction
  • Depression or low self-esteem
  • Social isolation; inability to fit into the mainstream

Children’s Mental Health Matters Substance Abuse Fact Sheet >>