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Top 10 Drugs Abused by Teens

Various drugs and paraphernalia sitting on a countertop

According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health as compiled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, here are the top ten most commonly abused drugs by youths between the ages of 12 and 17. The percentages accompanying each entry reflect the proportion of survey respondents who admitted to consuming that drug within the previous month.

1. Marijuana (6.5%)

Types: Sativa, Indica, Hybrid.

Consumption methods: smoking directly, smoking with pipes or bongs, vaporizers, liquid extract, ingestible oils, edible or drinkable substances.

Signs and symptoms of teen marijuana use: impaired coordination, learning problems, loss of memory, poor judgment, reduced decision-making capabilities, respiratory problems.

After the high ends: irritability, interrupted sleep patterns, anxiety, altered eating patterns.

2. Unprescribed Pain Relievers (1%)

Types: Morphine, Percodan, Ultram, Ultracet, Darvocet, Tylenol with Codeine, Avinza, Kadian, Suboxone, Opana

Signs and symptoms of teen painkiller use: withdrawing from social interactions, apathy, depression, mood swings, anxiety, excessive constipation, drowsiness, loss of concentration, poor memory, slowed movements, slower reaction times, slowed breathing.

3. Opioids (1%)

Types: Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, Hydrocodone plus Acetaminophen (Vicodin), Hydromorphone, Oxycodone (OxyContin, Roxicodone), Oxycodone plus Acetaminophen (Percocet), Demerol, Generic versions of opioids

Signs and symptoms teen opioid abuse: unusual elation, excessive drowsiness, intermittent nodding off, confusion, constricted pupils, excessive constipation, slowed breathing.

4. Inhalants (.6%)

Types: glue, paint, hairspray, gasoline, paint, paint thinner, nail polish remover, computer cleaner, whipped cream aerosols

Signs and symptoms of teen inhalant abuse: dizziness, loss of coordination, confusion, muscle weakness, chronic pain.

5. Tranquilizers (.5%)

Types: Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, Valium, Flexeril, Soma, Versed, Librium

Signs and symptoms of teen tranquilizer use: confusion, lowered inhibitions, increase in drowsiness, severely-reduced physical tension, loss of coordination, memory lapses, slowed breathing, slowed pulse.

6. Other hallucinogens (.5%)

Types: Ecstasy/Molly/MDMA, Ketamine, DMT, AMT, Foxy, Salvia, Mescaline, Peyote, Mushrooms

Signs and symptoms of teenage hallucinogen use: elevated body temperature, poor judgment, compromised coordination, nausea, anxiety, extreme paranoia, psychosis-like symptoms.

After the high ends: depression, emotional distress.

7. Stimulants (.4%)

Types: Adderall, Ritalin, Provigil, Dexedrine, Vyvanse, Metadate, Focalin, Daytrana, Concerta, Didrex, Tenuate

Signs and symptoms of teen stimulant use: loss of appetite, near-manic energy levels, lack of a need to sleep, elevated body temperature, irregular heartbeat, irritability, paranoia, seizures.

8. LSD (.2%)

Slang names: White lightning, battery acid, superman, back breaker, elvis, loony tunes, acid

Signs and symptoms teen lsd use: hallucinations and delusions, dry mouth, heavy salivation, dilated pupils, tingling in toes or fingers, weakness, excessive sweating, chills, nausea, dizziness, paranoia, rapid heart rate, convulsions.

After the high ends: anxiety, depression, disorientation, emotional distress.

9. Cocaine (.1%)

Types: Powdered form , freebase form, crack cocaine

Consumption methods: Snorting, smoking

Signs and symptoms of teen cocaine use: a constant runny nose and sniffling, nosebleeds, dilated pupils, poor judgment, overconfidence, an unusual level of excitement, paranoia, aggressiveness.

After the high ends: depression, agitation, apathy, extreme exhaustion, extra-long periods of sleep.

10. Sedatives (.1%)

Types: Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata, Restoril, Seconal

Signs and symptoms of teenage sedative use: dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness long after awakening, nausea, vomiting, sleepwalking, short-term memory loss, coordination problems.

If you think that your teenager is abusing these or other types of illicit drugs, do not sit idly by hoping that the issue will resolve itself. Confront the teen, try to determine which drugs are being abused and consider a teen substance abuse treatment center to address the problem. Contact Next Generation Village today to learn more about our evidence-based treatment methods and how we can help your teen on the road to recovery.

Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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