Teens have an uncanny knack of wanting to try anything that they are told is harmful to them. They desire to know which drugs are potent, how it will make them feel, and how much doses they need to get a high. Some common drugs available to teens are marijuana, methamphetamine, crack cocaine, ecstasy, prescription medication, alcohol and nicotine. The following table presented by Henry Abraham in his book What’s a Parent To Do? is telling:
What Drugs High School Seniors
Have Used by the Year 2003
|Drug||Using in Lifetime|
|Any Illicit Drug||51.1%|
A few possible signs that someone may involved in drug abuse (These would be changes from what previous behavior has been.) are:
- Changes in friends. Evasive about new friends.
- Increased secrecy about possessions or activities.
- Use of incense, or room deodorant, to hide smoke or chemical odors.
- Subtle changes in conversations with friends, e.g. more secretive, using “coded” language.
- Increase in borrowing money.
- Evidence of drug paraphernalia such as pipes, rolling papers, and other unusual items.
- Evidence of use of inhalant products (such as hairspray, nail polish, correction fluid, common household products) Rags and paper bags are sometimes used as accessories.
- Bottles of eye drops, which may be used to mask bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils.
- Missing prescription drugs-especially narcotics and mood stabilizers.
- Missing money or possessions.
- Prolonged unannounced absence with no explanation.
- Missing work or school.
- Skipping school, declining grades.
- Loss of motivation, energy or self-discipline.
- Neglect of personal hygiene.
Addiction and drug abuse takes its toll physically, emotionally, relationally, and financially on the teen and those around her. Parents, spouses, and other family members must begin to be honest and not cover-up and deny the problem. Reviewing the list of possible signs will help with assessing your situation.
Drug abuse takes a toll on every part of a teenaged girl’s life including her dignity and self-esteem, relationships, spiritual state, finances and usually results in legal troubles. It also takes a terrible toll on her body including her brain.
Dopamine is the brains natural chemical that is released when you experience pleasure. Drugs cause “good feelings” in several ways:
- by imitating the brain’s dopamine,
- by speeding up the release of dopamine, and
- by prolonging the presence of dopamine.
That is what the process of getting high is about, but once the drugs are out of the brain, the effect is gone. However, when a teen begins to use drugs regularly, the brain chemistry is altered by the drug and the drug becomes a part of the normal functioning of the brain. A vicious cycle starts. The more you use a drug the more damage is done, the more the person craves the drug, the more they need it just to feel normal, so the more they use. There is Hope! God wants her to be set free.
Teen Challenge Columbus Girls’ Academy
At TCCGA we believe that in order to assist your teen girl she must acknowledge that she has a problem. Most addicts will not make an attempt to change until they are confronted by the painful consequences of her addiction. That is why it is important that family members not “enable” their addiction by suffering the costs and consequences of the addiction. Researchers from the Harvard University Medical School recommend that teenagers who abuse drugs “may find that they are better served by youth-oriented drug treatment centers and school-based prevention and intervention programs. TCCGA is one such program. Our Stay Sharp Program is a prevention and educational program which is used in schools to guide a teen through the series of decisions they will have to make about taking drugs. We teach our students the damage that drugs will have in various aspects of their life, especially the factors that affect the brain and the dangers of overdose. We help our teenage girls unlearn the habitual response of using drugs to deal with life situations.
We approach each teen as a beautiful creation from God who has exalted value, exalted worth and exalted dignity. We believe that through the power of the Holy Spirit, the drug addicted teen can learn to find their identity in Christ. We provide the most conducive environment for the work of the Holy Spirit through renewing the mind while also recognizing that God has given us skilled persons in areas of expertise to help in the process. We encourage parents and family members to participate in family therapy as we seek to help the teenage girl to wholeness.
Our residential program is administered by qualified staff who work twenty four hours each day to promote and support the emotional well being of every student. We offer accredited classroom work where students are able to graduate with their high school diploma or have their credits transferred back to their school. The Teen Challenge Columbus Girl’s Academy has a balanced combination of academics, spirituality, athletics, therapy, social and life skills.