Adolescent substance results in a child’s inability to control emotions and impulses. Teens are particularly susceptible to substance use because adolescence is the stage of the greatest vulnerability to addiction. During adolescence, the parts of the brain that are so critical for judgment and self-regulation do not fully mature until people reach 21 to 25 years of age.
Factors that increase vulnerability to addiction include family history (presumably through genes and child-rearing practices), early exposure to drug use, exposure to high-risk environments (typically, socially stressful environments with poor familial and social supports and restricted behavioral alternatives and environments in which there is easy access to drugs and permissive normative attitudes toward drug taking). Certain mental illnesses (e.g., mood disorders, attention deficit–hyperactivity disorder, psychoses, and anxiety disorders) can also contribute to substance abuse.
After centuries of efforts to reduce addiction and its related costs by punishing addictive behaviors failed to produce adequate results, brain research has helped us better understand appropriate ways to address substance abuse in children ages 15-18.
Prevention Related Standards