Hidden Consequences: Teen Drug Abuse Impact on Health, Education, & Society

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Consequences of Teen Drug Abuse

Teens all around the world abuse drugs on a daily basis. Most parents and responsible adults ignore the abuse due to the fact that they themselves use it. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat are all places to find examples of teens who blatantly show this abuse. A simple hashtag (ex., #smokingweed) typed in the Instagram search bar is enough proof of the serious issue we face with teen substance abusers. The continued exposure from celebrities on social media and in everyday life has made drug abuse an everyday obstacle. Although drug abuse has become normalized in today’s culture, there are many teens who abuse drugs without knowledge of its consequences.

With social media as an influence, “the trend of… drug use among teens is cause for concern” (Frohnapfel-Krueger). The consequences of teen drug abuse are numerous. Some immediate consequences are: injury, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, medical conditions, impaired brain function, and low performance at school in both class and extracurricular activities, and can lead to criminal involvement and death (National Center 62). These consequences apply to not only the teens who use drugs but also those around them. Whether it be from cause and effect or the other person’s judgment also being impaired due to secondhand smoke, the chance of another person being affected by their actions is very high. A common example of this is car accidents related to drug abuse; people in those accidents usually end up with a serious life-changing injury or dead.

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Factors Influencing Teen Drug Use

Many teens start using drugs as young as twelve or thirteen years old, which is around the time they are transitioning into becoming a teen. They start using drugs because of bullying, parents fighting, abuse, stress, etc., and don’t realize that they are just making the situation worse. These teens are just using drugs as a way to cope. Others use drugs because their friends use them, and they don’t want to seem uncool or feel ostracized because they refuse. Other teens see everyone else, other adults, and choose to do it.

Some curious teens just try it and move on, while others curious try it and are hooked after the first use. Teens also use it out of boredom and to go against an authority figure. Some just want to be happy and decide that drugs and the quickest and easiest way. Teens can get the wrong information about the risks of drug abuse. They ask friends whom they think are experts and just roll with what they say.

Many people in recent years have said that teen drug abuse rates have gone down, but that is not true. If anything, teen drug abuse is worse than ever before. Teens have found more clever ways to hide the fact that they are using drugs. Parents, teachers, and other people never find out usually due to the relaxed nature that today’s society has taken in parenting. Taking surveys, while helpful, is not accurate because people (teens) don’t care about research and will answer negatively because they know drug abuse is wrong. Regardless of the fact that the survey will be anonymous, teens don’t take chances of that nature.

Consequences: Health, Addiction, and Future Risks

Teen Pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and rape are not seen as consequences of people abusing drugs, even though they are the result of their impaired judgment from the drug abuse. Parties usually contain both drugs and alcohol, and the use of either or both at the same time can lead to these three consequences. There are also parties called “Pharming Parties” by writers, where the main drugs all revolve around things you can find in your medicine cabinet and prescription drugs.

“When under the influence of alcohol and drugs, teens also are at an increased risk for date rape” (Frohnapfel-Krueger). It has been found that “teens who use drugs… tend to be more sexually active than their peers, increasing their risk of pregnancy” and sexually transmitted diseases (Frohnapfel-Krueger). These parties happen because “it’s better when you are with other people” and further contribute to the problem of teen drug abuse (Doup 40).

Regarding future addiction, another consequence of teen drug abuse, there are a few different points of view. Some believe that it is not a concern because marijuana is a popular drug, and others believe that drug abuse of any kind can cause serious addiction. Addiction is formed on patterned behavior and dependency. If you use drugs as a coping mechanism continuously, you become dependent on that drug. A pattern is then formed, so when you need a way to cope with something, you use a drug.

In comparison to other drugs, “marijuana is not very addicting” because “experienced [users] are able to control their high”; the key word being experienced (Gumbiner 71 & 72). Teens are not experienced when they first start and still run the risk of becoming addicted. “Teen users are at significantly higher risk of developing an addictive disorder compared to adults, and the earlier they began using, the higher the risk” (National Center 62). Though marijuana is considered a popular drug, it is also considered a gateway drug. For this reason, this does not diminish the risk teens have concerning other drugs; it only makes the issues that much more concerning.

Impact on Mental Health and Academic Performance

The link between drugs and mental health is a serious consequence when talking about teens abusing drugs because “mental health disorders… contribute to the morality” of people. Suicide is a common result of mental disorders and “one of the leading preventable causes of death” (Newswire 137). People who use drugs have a higher chance of getting a mental disorder such as depression or schizophrenia. Marijuana is said to have a direct relationship to the causation of these two disorders.

It “can worsen depression and lead to more serious mental health disorders” as a teen, more than double the average person, and lead to suicide (ONDCP 124). “The use of… drug[s] ‘moderately increases’ the risk of psychotic symptoms in” teens (Newswire 138). Those who previously had mental health disorders run the risk of worsening their disorder at a faster rate than someone who does not have a pre-existing condition when using drugs that have not been prescribed by a professional.

Behavior and grades for teens, who use drugs, tend to suffer when it comes to academic excellence. Teens already have it tough with the pressure from their other peers and don’t need to diminish their chances even further by using drugs. Teens who use drugs have a higher chance of having lower grades hurting their chances of getting into a good college. Drugs also mess with your emotions and can make you even more volatile than a normal teen, who, at this point, already does not know how to deal with their emotions. They could develop anger issues and choose to take their anger out on their family, peers, and teachers. This can result in problems such as suspension and expulsion and bad relationships with the people, leaving them with no one around they can talk with.

Physical and Social Consequences: Awareness and Impact

Using drugs can be very detrimental to your body. Important parts like your kidney, liver, lungs, and heart can be damaged beyond repair. This can shorten a person’s lifetime, especially when teens start at such a young age. Using it can damage your heart by making it beat too fast or cause a heart attack. Your lungs can be damaged to the point where you can never breathe on your own again. You can weaken your immune system and become dehydrated, which can make the chances of you contracting a disease higher.

The normalization of drugs has made the consequences of drug abuse fall under the radar leaving many teens, and people in general, without knowledge of its effects. Anything concerning drug abuse is a bad idea; the consequences are just not worth it. The consequences that teens do have knowledge of, such as addiction, are usually followed with the phrase “that’s not going to happen to me,” and the topic is dismissed until the person actually is experiencing it. Others, such as teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, are not seen as real consequences. The consequences need acknowledgment, and without acknowledgment, it will continue to be a problem.


  1. National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse.
  2. Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
  3. Newswire.

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Hidden Consequences: Teen Drug Abuse Impact on Health, Education, & Society. (2023, Aug 15). Retrieved from https://edusson.com/examples/hidden-consequences-teen-drug-abuse-impact-on-health-education-society

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