Teen drug and alcohol addiction can happen in any family, as many reasons can cause your teen to make a poor choice. The following are some of the most common reasons why teens try alcohol and drugs.

United States Adolescent Substance Abuse Facts

Percent of high school students who report they never tried cigarette smoking (even 1 or 2 puffs) 2013 2015
Total 59% 68%
Male 57% 66%
Female 60% 69%

Percent of high school students who report they drank alcohol for the first time before age 13 (other than a few sips) 2013 2015
Total 19% 17%
Male 20% 20%
Female 17% 15%

Percent of high school students who report they ever sniffed glue, breathed the contents of aerosol spray cans, or inhaled any paints or sprays to get high, 1 or more times (lifetime) 2013 2015
Total 9% 7%
Male 8% 7%
Female 10% 7%
Source:United States Adolescent Substance Abuse Facts

Peer pressure

Other teens may goad your teen into trying drugs and alcohol, which is why you want to pay attention to who your teen is associating with. The effects of peer pressure during the teenage years can be enormous, as studies have shown. Abrupt changes in friend groups are often an early sign there may be a problem.


The teenage years are a time of growing, trying out new things, and turning into an adult. Kids see that lots of adults use and abuse alcohol and drugs, so it is not unexpected that they would try them. Teenage experimentation with alcohol, nicotine, and widely-available softer drugs like marijuana is very common, and the occasional use may go undetected. However, once used regularly, they can quickly become a problem.


Especially during the cold Minnesota winters, boredom can quickly become a problem for a teen with nothing to do. Teens can become very passionate about things, and drug use is no exception. Do not deny them outlets to keep themselves occupied as otherwise, boredom can lead to a temptation to use drugs. The tragedy of drugs is not only the harm they do directly, but that they can quickly rob your teen of the passion for doing something more worthwhile.


If someone is struggling or depressed, drugs and alcohol can provide temporary respite from their fears and worries. Teenagers are often very adept at hiding their problems from adults. If this is driving their drug abuse, it is essential to treat the addiction and also to address the underlying issues that compelled them to use drugs to escape.