Could Your Middle Schooler Really Be Using Drugs?

Health & Medical Blog

A few decades ago, drugs were not something that parents worried about until their kids were teens. But sadly, that is changing. If you have a middle schooler, you need to be aware that drug use can begin at this age. You'll want to keep a close eye on your child's behavior, start having open and honest discussions with your child about drugs, and staying abreast on what to do if you do see signs of drug use in your middle schooler. Here's a closer look.

How big of a problem is drug use in middle schoolers?

These numbers are scary, so brace yourself. In 2015, one survey found that 8% of 8th graders had used illicit drugs. That's about 1 in every 11 to 12 kids. The most common drug used by kids at this age is marijuana, but students at this age also commonly use inhalants, Adderall, cough medicine (improperly as an abused drug), Oxycontin, and tranquilizers. 

What are some signs your middle schooler is using drugs?

Kids at this age are often temperamental and a bit moody, so you can't necessarily rely on their attitude to indicate whether they are using drugs or not. These, however, may be signs that your child is using:

  • Finding odd items such as flat, white papers, matches or lighters, green leaves that look like oregano, and unidentified pills in your child's backpack.
  • Withdrawal from the friends that he or she used to spend time with in favor of new social groups.
  • Appearing lethargic, ill, or very excitable at inappropriate or unexpected times.
  • A sudden drop in grades or refusal to partake in activities they used to love.

How can you keep your child from using drugs?

An effective approach is to talk to your child openly and honestly about drug use. Don't just say "don't do drugs" and do not threaten punishment if they do choose to try drugs. Instead, describe how, although drugs may make them feel good in the moment, they can really wreak havoc on their life in the long run. Explain how people who use drugs tend to find themselves isolated from the ones they love and the activities they love. You can touch on the physical dangers of drugs, but don't make this the focus. Young kids often feel "immune" to negative health consequences, so this won't have as big an impact as you'd hope.

If you think your middle schooler may be using drugs, reach out to a rehab program in your area. Many rehab centers have special programs for young kids and will ensure your child gets the treatment they need.


30 August 2017

Take Your Health Into Your Own Hands

My name is Katie Langer. For a long time, I was bed ridden and I felt like I had no control over my life. I simply went along with what was instructed by my doctor and I didn't ask questions. It wasn't that my doctor wasn't willing to work with me, but I preferred to simply not think about the illness I was suffering from. I didn't realize that some of the symptoms I was suffering from were side effects of my medication and were not normal. After communicating more with my doctor, I was able to alleviate my symptoms. Since then, I've taken an interest in patient-doctor relationships and how to improve them.