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 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.

Drug & Alcohol Use Issues

Drugs and alcohol contribute to a host of problems for youth, 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

More Information

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Get information on the latest science, trends and statistics, and treatment.

Children’s Mental Health Matters Substance Use Fact Sheet

Learn how substance use can affect your child, and how to talk to them about drug and alcohol use.

September 7, 2018

Kids Are Back in School! Here Are Some Mental Health Tips for Families

This week throughout Maryland, kids returned to school after a long summer break. For many kids, it's a time of excitement as they reconnect with old friends, meet their teachers and get back into the school routine. For some kids, though, this time of transition can cause anxiety. …

May 14, 2018

Young People Celebrate Mental Health through Art

One of the annual highlights of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week is the Celebrating Through Art: The First Lady's Mental Health Awareness Youth Art Display & Reception hosted by Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan in Annapolis, which was held last Monday.…

Children’s Mental Health Matters Substance Use Fact Sheet

Learn how substance use can affect your child, and how to talk to them about drug and alcohol use.

September 7, 2018

Kids Are Back in School! Here Are Some Mental Health Tips for Families

This week throughout Maryland, kids returned to school after a long summer break. For many kids, it’s a time of excitement as they reconnect with old friends, meet their teachers and get back into the school routine. For some kids, though, this time of transition can cause anxiety.

May 14, 2018

Young People Celebrate Mental Health through Art

One of the annual highlights of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week is the Celebrating Through Art: The First Lady’s Mental Health Awareness Youth Art Display & Reception hosted by Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan in Annapolis, which was held last Monday.

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