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Drinking, Drugs, and Violence
Drinking, drugs, and violence are all closely related. Teens who use drugs or alcohol or are violent may need special intervention to stop their risky behaviors. Keep reading for more information on drinking, drugs, and violence and where you can get help.
Teens who engage in violent behavior are more likely to use drugs and alcohol than teens who do not. A study reported by the National Youth Violence Prevention Center found that:
Teens drug addiction or alcohol abuse greatly increase the risk for suicide compared to other teens.
There may be several reasons for the connection between teen substance abuse and teen violence:
Many of the risk factors and prevention strategies for teen drinking, drugs and violence overlap.
Some of the risk factors for teens with drinking, drugs, and violence issues are:
Teens who face these risk factors may not use drugs or become violent, but they are at increased risk for these problems.
Some strategies for preventing teen drinking, drugs, and violence are:
These factors, called protective factors, do not guarantee that a teen won't use alcohol, drugs, or engage in teen violence, but they make it less likely and may make it easier to spot the problem and treat it early on.
The warning signs of teen violence and teen drug use do not overlap as much as the risk factors do. Violent teens may talk about violence or act aggressively toward others, while those using drugs may experience radical and rapid changes in appearance or behavior. Withdrawal or depression can be signs of substance abuse, violence tendencies, or other problems. Teens with any signs of drinking, drugs, and violence problems should see a doctor or a therapist right away.
Treatment for teen violence and teen substance abuse also differ, but the same medical and professional personnel may be involved. A doctor can help a teen overcome substance abuse and treat underlying medical disorders, while a therapist can help the teen avoid relapsing into drug use and deal with emotional issues that are prompting his or her violent behavior. Parents, teachers, and other concerned people in a teen's life should not ignore warning signs for substance abuse or for violent behavior.
National Youth Violence Prevention Center, "Teen Substance Abuse and Violence Facts" [online]
SAMHSA's National Mental Health Information Center, "What You Need To Know About Youth Violence Prevention" [online]
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, "Understanding Violent Bheavior in Children and Adolescents" [online]
Related Article: Teenage Violence Prevention >>