Many teens try alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. Some teens try these substances only a few times and stop. Others can't control their urges or cravings for them. This is substance abuse.
Teens may try a number of substances, including cigarettes, alcohol, household chemicals (inhalants), prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and illegal drugs. Teens use alcohol more than any other substance. Marijuana is the illegal drug that teens use most often.
Fortunately, prevention and treatment can make a difference. We know that the development of a substance use disorder is complex, involving interactions between biological and environmental risk factors. Many teenagers who have a substance use disorder can also have one or more psychiatric disorders.
If you’re concerned your teen may have an issue with substance abuse or addiction, talk to your pediatrician or family physician, who will refer you to a mental health professional.