In general, teens are more likely to engage in risky behavior, including alcohol and drug use. According to the CDC, the developing brains of adolescents and teens are far more likely than adults to become hooked on illicit substances. Foothills at Red Oak Recovery provides drug abuse treatment for adolescent boys at our North Carolina facility. Learn what gateway drugs are and how to discourage your teen from trying them by calling Foothills at Red Oak today at 866.300.5275.
What Are Gateway Drugs?
Gateway drugs are substances experts believe can increase the likelihood of progressive teen drug use. For an adolescent boy with a developing brain, any drug becomes a potential gateway drug due to a high risk of addiction. Drug use during the early teenage years can lead to brain damage and other negative consequences. Therefore, it’s important to know what gateway drugs are and how to keep your teen from using them.
If you suspect your son or another young boy in your life has started using gateway drugs, consider enrolling him in substance abuse treatment programs available at our facility.
Our treatment programs include the following:
- Holistic healing
- Therapy for process addictions
- Substance abuse treatment
We only accept teenage boys, and our entire program is set up to help them succeed in kicking gateway and other drugs to the curb for good.
Most Common Gateway Drugs for Teens
Gateway drugs include alcohol, marijuana, nicotine, and prescription drugs. These substances are relatively easy to get and may lead to harder drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Additionally, early drug use may be associated with polydrug use, leading to a tangled web of addictions that complicate teen drug and alcohol detox.
The following substances are often considered gateway drugs:
- Alcohol: Alcohol causes irreparable harm to adolescents and teenagers because their brains are still developing.
- Marijuana: Although many states have legalized some form of marijuana, many experts believe using marijuana leads to the abuse of alcohol and other drugs.
- Nicotine (e-Cigarettes): Little is known about the long-term effects of vaping. However, many cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive.
- Prescription drugs: Many kids have access to opioid pain killers, anxiety medication, and ADHD medication.
Your teen may try e-cigarettes or alcohol while hanging out with their friends. They can also become addicted to prescription opioid painkillers. Consider adolescent addiction treatment for your son for early intervention that can turn his life around and get him back on track.
Preventing Teen Drug Use
As a parent or guardian, you can reduce the risk of your son developing an addiction. Here are a few ways you can encourage your teen to resist gateway and harder drugs:
- Education: Share real stories about the impact of drugs on the brains of adolescents and teenagers.
- Monitoring internet use: Monitor the websites that your teen uses to prevent him from falling prey to predators who could introduce him to gateway drugs.
- Show love, kindness, and support: Give your teen the information he needs to make educated decisions. Refusing to talk about it won’t stop your son from being curious about marijuana, nicotine, and alcohol. The more support you give him, the more comfortable he will feel confiding in you.
- Set the right example: You may think that your adolescent or teen no longer listens to you. However, children continue to emulate their parents well into adulthood. Model the behavior you want him to follow to reinforce the message that he shouldn’t use drugs and alcohol.
If your teen does use gateway drugs or other illicit substances despite your best efforts, it may be time to consider teen substance abuse therapy.
What Treatments Are Available for Teen Drug Use?
There are many types of treatments available for adolescents with substance use disorders.
Some common treatments include:
- Behavioral therapies: These therapies help adolescents understand the thoughts and feelings that lead to drug abuse.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This therapy helps teens change their thoughts and behaviors related to drug abuse.
- Family therapy: This type of therapy helps families understand how to support their recovering teen.
- Motivational enhancement therapy: This therapy helps adolescents explore their reasons for wanting to change their behavior.
- Contingency management: This treatment uses rewards to motivate adolescents to stay drug-free.
- Medications: There are a few medications that can help treat adolescent addiction, including naltrexone, buprenorphine, and methadone.
If your son is struggling with a substance use disorder, it’s important to find an appropriate treatment program. There are many programs available that cater to the unique needs of adolescents. For more information on adolescent addiction treatment, please call Foothills at Red Oak Recovery today.
Learn More at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery
As a parent, you want to keep your child safe. We designed our adolescent therapy programs with teens in mind. Our medical and psychiatric staff members can help your son learn new skills that give him the best possible chance to maintain sobriety. At Foothills at Red Oak Recovery, we remind our young clients what it means to be free of drugs and alcohol. Contact us at 866.300.5275 to speak with our enrollment staff.