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Real Teens Ask: How Old Are Kids Who Start Using Drugs?

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Sara Bellum
November 05, 2009

Lots of teens have questions about drugs. Each year, NIDA scientists spend a day chatting online with high school students and answering their questions.

At the last Drug Facts Chat Day, soccerstar0 asked:

“On average how old are kids who start using drugs?”

Research shows that drug use often starts in the teen years. You might have heard that, but here’s something you may not know—the science shows that the younger you are when you start using drugs, the more likely you are to get addicted later on. Doing drugs can also cause problems with friends, in sports, and in school.

Let’s face it—when someone tells us not to do something, that sometimes makes it seem more exciting. But drugs can really do some not-so-exciting things to your body. NIDA researchers discovered that drugs can literally change the way your brain works. And since your own brain won’t finish growing until you’re 25, you probably don’t want to mess with that process by doing drugs.

Comments

Some children these days don't know what DON'T DO DRUGS mean

drugs are so lame, they are just one way to die slowly and painfully, and some times it goes to far and people die before you realize you are dying.

Thanks for the great post. I will tell my friends about your page. Thanks again...
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they more they say dont do it the more you want it

MercySon. I couldn't help but comment about your're post. You ramble on about how Marijuana has yet to negatively effect you. I beg to differ. Your entire post was misspelled and was full of poor grammer. Obviously it has effected you. You say your in college to be a student of law? It makes me laugh at your grammer.
As for the topic, i agree with a few other people. It's human nature to want to try new things. An elder tells you, 'you can't'. So what is every teenager going to do? They're going to break the rule/law. I am mature for my age, i'm 17. I find teenagers who use substances to be inccompitent and immature. They see a rule thats limiting them, thats telling them they can't. It drives them crazy, so when the chance presents itself, they jump.

Yes it is very true that kids do drugs at a very young age. When I was around the age of ten I saw kids my age smoking weed. I'm now 19 and in college and I still see it today, but with a variety of new things. Students in college try things like adderall and ritalin to help them focus when it comes around final exams. There are many reasons why kids and students start doing these drugs. One is because of stress they might be experiencing at home or the abuse they are taking physically/or mentally. Two students in college tends to deal with a high amount of stress levels, so that leads to these types of drugs. And finally most kids and students because their friends do it. I know most people would say weed helps them and makes them thing better. In some ways this might be true, but in the end I mean when your (older), you may not be able to be on the same mentally level as you should be when you become older. Weed kills brain cells and what do you need to help you to be able to remember how to do things, and just follow common sense. Oh I know you need brain cells. The legalization of Marijuana is playing a big factor into today's society. And the parents play a major role in why kids start drugs young. And the way parents set standards in their household. I think if a parent just be straight up with there kids they will not become disappointed in them later on in life. And this is how I feel towards this topic.

Im 13. I do not do drugs. We learned marijuana is healthier than alcohol is that true? And why is it medicine if its bad 4 you?
And also my friens say that they do it 4 fun is that a common answer

@212ntn Last question first: yes, lots of people say the do drugs for fun.

Good for you for not buying into that "fun" idea. We know, for instance, that the younger you start taking drugs, the more likely you are to become addicted. And drugs play tricks on your mind and body, making it hard to stop once you become addicted. Here's a post that talks about what happens to the brain and body under the influence of drugs of addiction: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/word-day-brain-reward-system/

Here are some answers to your other questions:
It is hard to say whether one drug of abuse is better or worse than the other, as so many factors are involved: someone’s age, how much of the drug they take and even their reasons for doing the drug.

It's also important to make a distinction between drugs as medication, and drugs of abuse. Prescription drugs can be safe and effective when used to treat certain conditions and under the supervision of a doctor. Some of these drugs may be abused - pain medications, for example, can be highly addictive over time if someone uses them for the wrong purpose, with the wrong dosage, or by someone who wasn't really prescribed them in the first place. But you're probably hearing about other health treatments as well. For example, medical marijuana has been in the news a lot. Scientists have shown that marijuana’s active ingredient (tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC) can help people with certain medical conditions like pain, nausea, wasting disease, addiction, autoimmune disorders, etc., especially for patients with advanced stages of cancer or other painful diseases. Currently, there are just two approved oral THC medications. However, smoked marijuana has not been FDA approved as a medicine, because taking smoke into your lungs is never a good idea.

don't do drugs peeps

drugs r bad to do but k

I think teens should just not start drugs the first time. depressed, hurt or whatever, dont do it! how does killing yourself make your life any easier? on top of that, your just hurting the people around you that have to see you do this to yourself. how about you stop being selfish and do the right thing! DONT, i repeat. DONT DO DRUGS!!!

Why i said what i said is because right now im watching my four friends do drugs, Its killing me. I dont know how to help them. I want to. But they already made their choice you know? I just dont want anyone else to throw there lives away. Drugs arent worth it. Their not. Do something other then them. Theres sooooooo much that you can do instead of drugs. Be Smart!

I have read several of the posts on here and find it very interesting to read different points of view. I used to think that smoking weed was no big deal, but as I have read the research being done and compare it to real life situations of long term smokers of marijuana that I know, I have totally changed my mind. I think that there are medicinal uses for it and that should be the extent of it, I do not feel that it should be legal like cigarettes and alcohol, look how much damage they cause, do we really need to just add another addictive substance? Another thing I found amusing is that the first comment made on here by Mercyson, states that he/she have smoked weed for years and that it has not effected them or their academics, clearly this is not true, there are SEVERAL misspelled words in his comment. I would say it's fair to ask if marijuana plays a role in that. Not to be rude but going into law school you should at least be able to know the difference when using the term AFFECT and EFFECT and how to spell other basic words such a relationship (also misspelled).

i'm doing my senior project on the effects on teenagers who have parents who use drugs! both of my parents used drugs, my father died in 08 but not from drugs and my mother is off drugs now. I would say they both have been using since i was 2 or 3 i'm 18 now. while i do this report i'm searching for a way teens can over come following in their parents foot steps. Like i said before i'm 18 and my whole life i smoked weed once and that was it! i DIDN'T like it and will never do it again. Honestly i don't see why people use drugs there are so many things in the world to do in order to get over depression and stress and social acceptance. I mean come on now why would a teen want to be hung over and druged up i just don't get it and NEVER WILL!

-viktoria

Im 13 [deleted, per guidelines] and im a good friendly fun chill person!

My neighbors take drugs and they smoke it at the park with other kids cALLED "pot heads" It is tearing their mom and dad apart as well as ruining their little brother and big sister's life.They steal thier stuff video games and bikes as well as small appliances for drug money. I just wanted to share that to show others what can happen.

i am doing a report and i need to know whydo kids do drugs

@pwms~crazy There is no simple answer to your question, but you are in the right place to research the topic! Several posts here address that question. For starters, why don’t you check out the following: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/so-why-do-people-like-drugs/ and http://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/real-teens-ask-drugs/. You may also want to read Drugs, Brains, & Behavior - The Science of Addiction. Good luck on your report!

My 5 year old son looks up to my brother who is 19. I found out that my brother stole $700.00 from my son’s biggie bank one day. It took my son a few years to save that money. He’s dad use to take time counting the money with our son and used that time to bond with him and also as a teaching experience. When my son found out that the money was gone, he literately fell on his knees and started to cry. I will never forget this moment! I never told my son that it was my brother who took the money but I will definitely tell him when he starts high school which is a time that drugs will be a popular topic.

thanks you for the information that relly help

tkz 4 the 411 more children need to be more educated on drug abuse and the dangers of drugs like the most common 1........methanphetamine.some kids do drugs & dont kno it like pop rocks. so, keep up the great work.

Q: has weed ever killed someone
A:no it has not.
just try to prove me wrong

i believe tht doing drugs is wrong and if your 12 you should know better than tht!!!

im doing a report on my teens do drugs and the stuff that the tell me is reall dissapointing

where are people most likely to stat using drugs

@Ricksta That’s a good question - without a good answer. It depends on the person – most people are introduced to drugs by people they know. The “where” could be a party, a friend’s house, or just about anywhere people hang out.

We encouraged our son to attend school parties that he had refused to go to for the first couple years of Middle School. Ironically, as soon as he went to his first party, he was introduced to marijuana and tried it. We had no idea because the "game" is to have a sleep over at someone's house after a party, (usually at the home of an extremely clueless parental unit.) By the time we figured out what was going on, his grades had plummetted, his friends were not the same and he was on Facebook constantly when he said he was doing homework. For parents I say, remove the computer from your child's room, take the phone and put it in a drawer when they go to bed, and don't think you're child is above it all. Vigilence is the key. No matter how loud the protestations or the guilt. Be their parent first. It's a very tough time as teens try to figure out where they fit in and the sands are shifting below their feet constantly. Have plans for your weekends, get your child involved in a structured sport activity that requires attending practices and keeping one's grades up. Eventually, they can stand on their own two feet. But don't EVER think your child is handling things well just because you believe you've given them the tools to think. They will often disappoint you. If that happens, just remember to tell your child first and foremost that you love them no matter what. (You will be angry and it's hard not to be, but it's still about guiding your child through some very tough and challenging times.) You won't be able to see your child as the innocent person you thought they were. But, maybe it's better to know that your child is growing up, and they need you in a different way now. If you can, stay strong on maintaining control while your child is at home, because they will still have ample opportunity to stumble when they are back at school with friends. Lastly, do not tell your child that you read something on Facebook or Twitter or FormSpring. If you do, they will find other means to communicate. Btw, contact your cell phone provider and use the parental features whereby you can set the hours for sending and receiving text messages on your child's phone. Sure, it's time consuming, and often frustrating. But, I'll guarantee you that you'll be glad you took the time to do it. The first time your child discovers and complains is the first sign that you did the right thing by imposing the texting schedule in the first place. I strongly recommend taking the time to set up the hours when texting is allowed, and when it's not. We set television watching parameters, but are overlooking the fact that the same structure is needed to keep young teens from getting involved in unnecessary drama that involves texting and posting on whatever social media is in vogue in your area at all hours of the night, and when you think they are doing their homework.

kiddding lots of help! i did some researh and found out that even some cats are doing drugs now. it's horrible

@soemone where the heck do you get your information! carazy

Im 12 i think im already addicted it started on the bus with my friend ahe offered me vodka i said sure i LOVED the feel of it the we tried budweiser ehh it was ok i like vadka now shes bringing in some drug pills and the hard drugs cocaine im no longer addicted but im afraid shell one day end up dead i love that girl like a sister i wanna help her but idk how now shes selling drugs all around the school and were just in 6th grade

y0l0. i think i might be addicted to cocaine and marijuana. i'm only 14 and i don't want to be addicted. i want to live a nice life with a family and such! [personal info deleted, per guidelines]

I tried one when I was six years old but I had it one time. Since then I had never had another ever again plus if did had one my family will take away my pet snake. [name deleted, per guidelines]

i am 16 and 3 years ago i was addicted to meth i was in and out of rehabe mostly cuz i diden beleve i had a problum but when i was about 15 irelized i had a big problum cuz my brother found it and told me he was gonna tell mom and i got mad and tried to push him out the window after that i realized i needed help so i got it thank you to the people at my rehab center thanks to you ill never do drugs agin

Im 14. There first time I ever smoked i was 12. it started as just cigarettes. When i was 13 i tired marijuana. It didnt do anything for me there first time. so one day i was with people and the asked if i wanted any so i thought since it didnt do anything the first it wont this time. well it did. and turns out it was laced with meth. my momther doesnt know it was laced but she is aware if smoked pot before. I have smoked pot since then. and i dont let it take me over. it takes a way the stress. and i know your thinking your 14. What do you have to be stressed about? but i am. i deal with alot. but im a aunt to 9 kids. it makes me wonder doing this is going to act like a free pass for them to do it when they get older. so thats the day i decided to get clean. im almost 7 months sober.(:
i hope this helps anyone. its not "cool" in anyway. i promise it can cause so many problems in life. stop while your young!

good morning delightful life span website

“How Old Are Kids Who Start Using Drugs?” was a fantastic posting, cannot wait to look
over far more of ur postings. Time to spend some time on the internet haha.

Thank you ,Kristie
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i have never used any drug but so much of my friends do crystal myth and marijuana but i dont know how to helpo them can u tell me wat i can do
doing drugs is a bad thing for you it will be on your record
doing drugs is a bad thing for you it will be on your record
drugs got me far away from my family now i don't get to seee my baby sisters till God knows when. i get scared every now and then and i don't like that it just makes me feel stupid.
drugs are bhad!!!
My question is: where are these studies? I'd like to see the facts and hard results of testing before subjugating myself to such broad and debatable answer. Obviously, over longed exposure to anything will make you grow attached to it; and/or exposure on a regular basis becomes a Norm. Ie) A child to their Teddy, or a child in an environment where their caretaker is an avid smoker.

Psych Student, please check out Drug, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction.  It explains that addiction is a brain disease and how your age might influence your vulnerability to the disease.  

If you do durgs you might as well say goodbye to your life cause it will all be wasted and you wont have any friends because you look diffferent and your family will send you to treatment centers I should know this all happend to my sister Brittany. She was 12 when she started right after my grandpa died she was so deperssed that she could never get over it then she started doing drugs and now she quit cause she got the help she needed by a treatment center.
Don't ever do drugs because there are gonna be bad consequences and your life is not gonna turn out so we'll as you think. Drugs are bad why do you think there's a phrase that saids BE SMART DONT START!!!!! Listen to it.
9
This thread should really be moderated, there is a lot of false information on here and I'd hate to think that a concerned youth or someone curious about drugs comes to this site and has nightmares about the terrors of marijuana. I am currently writing a review of the current drug education system and I just had to take some time out to address a few issues here. 1. Marijuana, when used in excessive quantities, has been found to result in (primarily) psychology and social complications such as amplified paranoia and anxiety. However, when compared to the adverse effects of cigarettes and alcohol these complications are dwarfed. I used to smoke marijuana, I stopped (because marijuana is not an addictive substance like cigarettes and alcohol are) and I am a fully functioning member of society, I have a positive love life, a pool of close friends, and remain a productive person in general which leads to my second point. 2. Carefully experimenting with drugs will not ruin your life, in a controlled environment experimenting with drugs is a good way to understand their effects. The people who are spouting that one drag of a joint is a death sentence should keep their propaganda to themselves, people do not think outside of their boxes, imagine if a young person came to this website after trying marijuana. They come here concerned about what they have done and read a ream of nonsense telling them they have ruined their life. If this is you do not listen to these people, you have not ruined your life, in fact most young drug users simply age out of drugs (visit the website Drug Scope for more information). 3. Sara Bellum? I can't decide whether the original post author has parents with an odd sense of humour or that it is a tasteless alias, if it is the latter you are a very crude person for identifying yourself as some internet brain.

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