Mental Health

Why Do Some Young People Try Drugs?

Some people think that teens who try drugs and alcohol are just “troublemakers.” They believe these teens are just acting out or trying to make a statement.

But that’s not the whole story. Only a few teens might try these things for those reasons, but there’s more going on. To really get it, you need to see things from our perspective and feel what we’re going through.

This article shares what teens themselves think about this.

Can you recall your own teenage years? Getting where we’re coming from is the first step in offering help.

The Key Takeaway. 

  • Not every teenager that tries drugs and alcohol tried it to rebel. There might be much more deeper reasons to why they tried them. 
  • You need to put yourselves in teenager shoes to properly understand their reasons for doing drugs and alcohol. 
  • Next, find a way to help them.

11 Reasons Why Some Teenagers Decide To Try Drugs.


You know when you’re super bored and don’t know what to do? A lot of teens start trying drugs and alcohol for that reason. They’re curious and want something new to do. But don’t worry! You can help your teen stay busy by getting them involved in different activities or giving them more things to do at home.

Making Friends.

Starting high school isn’t easy. Being shy or finding it hard to make friends is common. Sometimes, to feel more sure of themselves or to get closer to others, teens might try drugs and alcohol. It’s not just about being pushed by others; it’s about wanting to belong. Getting your kids to join groups or sports can help them find friends in a better way.

Feeling Down. 

Feeling really sad is something teens can go through, too. Some might use drugs and alcohol to try to escape those feelings. When they’re feeling low, these things can seem like a break from the sadness—a way to forget and feel good for a while. We, as parents, might think they’re just being moody, but it could be a sign of a deeper sadness.

Wanting to Know.

You’ve heard that curiosity can lead to trouble, right? That same curiosity can make teens want to try drugs. They’re curious about how it feels. And teens often think they can’t be hurt by it. They might know drugs are dangerous, but they don’t believe they’ll be harmed. Teaching them what can really happen because of drugs can help stop that curiosity.

To Lose Weight.

Worrying about looks is a big deal. Some girls in high school might use strong drugs (like cocaine) to lose weight fast. They want to look thin and get noticed, and they might also have eating problems. It’s really important to help with these deeper issues.

Too Much Pressure.

High school can be really stressful. With hard classes and lots of activities, the pressure just builds up. Some teens don’t know how to deal with it, so they turn to things like marijuana for a break from all the stress.

Not Feeling Good About Themselves.

When teens are around fourteen to sixteen years old, they can start feeling really bad about themselves. Things like TV, mean comments, or what their families expect can make them feel like they have to be a certain way. If they don’t feel like they fit in, drugs and alcohol might seem like a way to get away from those bad feelings.

To Feel Different.

Sometimes, teens use drugs and alcohol to make experiences feel more intense. Cocaine and Adderall might be used to help them feel more awake and focused. Ecstasy might be used to feel less shy and more excited about things like sex. Marijuana and alcohol are often used to chill out and feel more at ease around people.

Friends Pushing.

Even though they learn about it, sometimes teens still give in to peer pressure. This happens a lot when they’re around sixteen to eighteen years old. They start thinking that “everyone is doing it,” so they should too. This can happen at parties, after dances, or just hanging out with friends or boyfriends/girlfriends. They feel like they need to do the same to fit in. This kind of pressure is more direct and can come from older friends.

Now or Never Feeling.

Teens often feel like they have to try everything while they’re still young. They think it’s “now or never.” They want to try drugs before they grow up and have more responsibilities. They think they’re missing out if they don’t try it now. They believe it’s okay if they only try it once or twice.

Family History.

If teens have family members who have had problems with drugs or alcohol, they might be more likely to try these things too. Making mistakes is part of being a teen, but they can’t help what’s in their genes. If there’s a history of addiction in the family, it’s important to talk openly about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

How Can You Get Help for Drug or Alcohol Problems?

If you or someone you know is having trouble with drugs or alcohol, remember there’s help out there and you can get better. There are special places that help young people who are dealing with addiction, and they can help you start feeling good again. If you want to know more about these places, you can talk to someone who cares at the American Addiction Centers (AAC) for free by calling 877-586-6232 or by sending a text message. You can also look up how your insurance can help you on their website.

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