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 in life. Other psychiatric disorders often co-exist with substance use problems and need assessment and treatment. Fortunately, there are excellent resources for parents who want to prevent their kids from using drugs and to help parents who believe their children are abusing drugs and alcohol.
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 use, dependency, or addiction; depression or low self-esteem; social isolation, inability to fit into the mainstream.