Despite the fact that it is illegal for teens to use drugs or alcohol, they are extremely creative in the methods employed to obtain such substances. Underage drinking and drug use is significantly correlated with poor academic performance, emotional and physical health risks, strained interpersonal and familial relationships, physical and emotional dependence as well as addiction. It is important for parents to not only be aware of the dangers associated with underage drinking and drug use, but also learn where their teen may be accessing drugs and alcohol. Here are the top 5 ways teens are able to get drugs and alcohol:
1. Drugs in School
School is supposed to be a safe place where teens receive an education and establish healthy relationships with friends. Unfortunately, many drug transactions occur on school grounds. High schools are the perfect location for teens to seek out drugs. In school, teens have access to a larger pool of drugs than what they may be used to seeing in their own specific social group. It isn’t uncommon for drug dealers to be teens in high school. Your teen may be exposed to drugs on a regular basis. It is important for parents to have frequent and recurrent conversations about the dangers associated with underage drinking and drug use. Teens look to their parent for established rules and expectations. Honest and open communication is the best deterrent for substance abuse among teens.
2. Fake IDs
Your teen or some of your teen’s friends might use a fake ID to obtain alcohol. Research has found that 7% of high school students have used a fake ID to get alcohol at some point. While most bartenders and liquor store employees are able to effectively identify a fake ID, many are unsuccessful and unfortunately sell alcohol to underage teens. Many parents are unaware how easy it is for teens to get a fake ID. As technology continues to advance, it is becoming increasingly easier for people to make fake IDs and increasingly more difficult for scanners to decipher a real ID from a fake one. It is important that parents discuss the legal consequences associated with possessing a fake ID and discuss the dangers associated with underage drinking.
3. Drugs and Alcohol at Home
If your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol, chances are high that at some point they accessed drugs or alcohol right at home. With teen substance abuse on the rise, it is imperative that parents are aware of what drugs are in the home. Teens often feel that experimenting with prescription medications is safer than other illicit drugs. Due to this, it is critical that parents are aware of what prescription drugs are in the house and limit access to those drugs. Parents should lock up all medication, discard any unused or expired prescription medications, and limit access to alcohol in the home.
4. Drugs Online
A physician should prescribe prescription drugs to a patient, with a legitimate need. Unfortunately this is not the only method people received prescription medication. Teens who abuse prescription medications often use a variety of different ways to obtain the drugs. Prescription drugs are available through a variety of illicit channels. One of these channels is through illegitimate online pharmacies. With prescription drug abuse on the rise, online drug sites make obtaining prescription drugs a relatively easy method for teens. Illegal pharmacies allow anyone to have illegal drugs delivered to the doorstop in less than 48 hours. There are over 50,000 Internet pharmacies online that sell prescription drugs illegally. Most online pharmacies are not operated legitimately and pose a serious threat. Many of these online sites do not require a prescription, age verification or valid form of payment. The illegitimate online pharmacies make scheduled controlled substances easily accessible. These factors make it easier for teens to obtain prescription drugs illegally without leaving the house.
5. Doctor Shopping
Doctor shopping is the term used for people who visit multiple physicians to get multiple prescriptions for drugs they are currently abusing. Teens are often able to obtain prescriptions for various drugs from their physician. Doctor shopping often occurs in urgent care facilities and emergency rooms. Teens with substance abuse issues often choose urgent care facilities and emergency rooms rather than the family physician. Teens are able to maintain a level of anonymity and deception, something they wouldn’t be able to achieve as easily with their family physician. Teens that frequent urgent care facilities and emergency rooms often complain about specific symptoms in an attempt to receive the drug they are seeking. Teens with prescription drug addiction often use different tactics to avoid detection. Some teens use a fake name and pay for the prescription using cash. By using a fake name and paying cash, the teen is better able to avoid detection.