One misconception connected to the increase in prescription drug abuse by teens is that using drugs is safe as long as you only do it “every once in a while.” Many teens believe that if they only occasionally use drugs, they can’t have an overdose or become addicted.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of evidence that even occasional drug use can be dangerous and can lead to a risk of developing other problems during adolescence as well as into adulthood.
We frequently see stories in the news in which a teenager experimenting with drugs for the first time dies from an accidental overdose, or a teen drinking alcohol for the first time dies from acute alcohol poisoning.
Drugs affect different people in different ways, and some people can experience dangerous side effects or even a fatal reaction the first time they take a drug. Even when you have a prescription for the drug, you can have an adverse reaction
Years of scientific research into early-onset substance abuse – drinking or using drugs before age 15 especially – is linked to a variety of risks for other problems. Research has shown that doing drugs or drinking before age 21 is linked to:
Significantly higher risks of developing substance abuse problems as an adult
Five times the risk of becoming addicted or chemically dependent early in adulthood
A greater likelihood of using illicit drugs and developing a dependence upon them
The development of a smaller brain size compared to teens who do not drink or do drugs
A greater risk of developing other problems including depression, suicide, risky sexual behavior, behavioral problems and problems at home and school