Listening to music, watching TV, late nights, sleeping in, and no homework … no wonder teenagers can’t wait until summer. The trouble with summer is that teens are more likely to try drugs during this time. A recent study found that during the summer months, teenagers are more likely to try alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana for the first time.
Each day during June and July…
11,000 teens try alcohol
5,000 teens try cigarettes
4,500 teens try marijuana
These rates are almost double those of most other months.
Experimentation may be considered a part of normal adolescent development. However, couple this with other parts of normal adolescent development—like feeling indestructible and not considering the consequences of their actions—and we have risk factors for trying drugs and, possibly, drug dependence.
Experimentation can be followed by addiction. Look at cigarettes and alcohol. It is estimated that 85 percent of adolescents who smoke two or more cigarettes completely and overcome the initial discomfort will go on to become regular smokers. Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are much more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21. Addiction leads to school failure and increased risk for accidents, violence, unplanned and unsafe sex, and suicide.