The Student News Site of Renton High School

RHS Hawk Eye

The Student News Site of Renton High School

RHS Hawk Eye

The Student News Site of Renton High School

RHS Hawk Eye


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Teenage Substance Use

We all know that some teenagers use substances. That’s not a surprise, but recently it has been getting out of hand with teenagers searching for ways to cope with their difficult and confusing lives through substance abuse. Youth drug abuse is a high-profile public health concern, with at least 1 in 8 teenagers abusing an illicit substance in the last year.


Teenagers in Washington are 33.36% more likely to have used drugs in the last month, and 2.08 million nationwide reported using drugs in the last month. Among them, 83.88% report using marijuana in the last month. 11.2% of that 2.08 million have died from an overdose who were listed between the ages of 15 – 24. 7.10 million 12 – 20 year olds report binge drinking just in the last month as well. 2.7% of 12th graders are drinking daily. Alcohol is by far the most commonly abused substance among teens and young adults. 12.78% of 12 – 17 year olds report using marijuana in the last year. 6.9% of 12th graders use marijuana daily. 61,000 teenagers in Washington alone use drugs regularly.


Why do teenagers start using drugs and drinking alcohol when they know it’s wrong? When they know it’s not healthy and against the law? Well,

1. They get influenced by other people.

2. They see it everywhere on social media.

3. They can use it as an escape, a sort of self medication for problems they don’t know how to resolve on their own.

4. Pure boredom, looking for something new.

5. Rebellion.  Some teenagers like the feeling of doing things they know they shouldn’t.

6. Instant gratification.  For some it makes them feel more appreciative about life and being able to live everyday.

7. Lack of confidence.  For some using substances, it makes them feel better about themselves.

8. Misinformation.  People around them use drugs and like to glorify their experience making substance abuse sound life changing, which causes the other person to want to experience it as well.

There are many other reasons why teenagers would start to use drugs, but these are some of the main reasons.


Consistent drug use over time affects the mind’s reward system. Reward system meaning when we feel good or happy while doing something. Other things that were once enjoyable, like eating good food, or hanging out with friends are not as impactful or fun as they once were. Eventually, if someone decides to continue abusing substances for a long enough period, their body has to rely on it to feel normal. Their body gets so accustomed to the drugs that if you do not use them for a while, physical symptoms begin to show up, which are also known as withdrawals. Withdrawals can cause the person to believe that they need to use the substance all the time and can feel like they cannot survive without them. Some withdrawal symptoms can be: trembling, tremors, muscle pain, aches, hunger, loss of appetite, fatigue, sweating, irritability, agitation, depression, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, confusion, insomnia, paranoia, seizures, and dilated pupils.


Unfortunately, substances are very easy and accessible these days especially to minors. Social media also highly influences substance abuse and glorifies it.


(This image is a substance use among adolescents chart with information of what leads to youth drug abuse and the risks and outcomes. Provided from: FFT program.)


Getting sober is a different process for every user. For some it’s simple, they stop surrounding themselves with people who use, or are able to say no when asked if they want a ‘hit’. For others, it’s more difficult, they need more support such as help from their family members, professional therapy, etc. For most, they need to reside in rehab, to be put in a safe environment away from substances for 30 days or more while they go through withdrawals.

If you feel that you might be getting addicted or are addicted to substances, try talking to somebody about it, like an adult that you trust even if that adult happens to be your older sibling or cousin.  Also do research on rehab facilities to enroll in, and go to NA or AA meetings in your area.  A rehab facility that is recommend is Sundown M Ranch in Yakima. It’s in a beautiful area and very quiet. They do hikes every 2 weeks, provide plenty of outside activities, and the sun feels great! They also have wonderful counselors there that you can vent with or open up to.


(This is an image of Sundown M. Ranch. Their phone number is – (800)- 326-7444. The address is 2280 WA-821, Yakima, WA 98901)


This is an image of the Sundown M. Ranch facility. The very back building is where the kids facility is. They also have a gym that the kids go to about 2 to 3 times a day. If you’re worried if this will affect your education, or if you will graduate on time, they have a school system there too. You can take 1 or 2 classes, depending on how long your stay is, but most of the time you only finish 1 class of your choice to earn graduation points which will transfer over to your GPA. You’re only in school for 2 to 3 hours a day, and they allow you to listen to Spotify while you work.  If you finish early, you can play games on your computer which is also provided as well as headphones.


If you think this would be a good choice for you, talk to your guardians, search up Sundown M. Ranch and call their number. They will ask you questions and information about yourself so they can help.


Other places that are willing to help that aren’t rehabilitations are:

SAMHSA National Helpline – 1-800-662-4357

La Fe The Hope –  (425) 793-9834

Programa SER – (206) 293-2957

Programa SER is specifically for alcohol abuse while the others are for substances in general.


Experimenting is normal while growing up, but be safe with your use or wait until the legal age.  Know the side-effects of the drug you are using and the risks of drug addiction.  You only have one life, so live it to your fullest potential, naturally and healthfully.



The information that was given in this article was provided from the following sources::

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