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Substance Abuse

Adolescents are forming their identities and frequently take risks and look for new experiences. Experimenting with drugs may satisfy these desires but in an unhealthy way.  Teens typically initiate substance use because of curiosity, stress, peer group acceptability, and availability of the substance.

It is critical that adolescents receive clear messages about drugs and alcohol from multiple sources: schools, peers, parents, and the community. Delaying the age of first use of alcohol and drugs makes adolescents less likely to experience substance dependence later in life. Reducing risk factors like poor coping skills and community acceptability of drug use while increasing protective factors like clear parental expectations and strong bonds with community institutions can help an adolescent to avoid substances.