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Stages of Juvenile Drug Use

June 27, 2011 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition Comments Off on Stages of Juvenile Drug Use

There are several stages of drug use. Young people seem to progress more quickly through the stages than do adults.

  • Experimental use — typically involves peers, done for recreational use; the user may enjoy defying parents or other authority figures.
  • Regular use — the user misses more and more school or work; worries about losing drug source; uses drugs to “fix” negative feeling; begins to stay apart from friends and family; may change peer group to others who are regular users; takes pride in noting; increased tolerance and ability to “handle” the drug.
  • Daily preoccupation — the user looses any motivation; the user is indifferent toward school and work; behavior changes become obvious; preoccupation with drug use overrides all prior interests, including relationships; the user engages in secretive behavior; may begin dealing drugs to help support habit; use of other, harder drugs may increase; legal complications may increase.
  • Dependence — cannot face daily life without drugs; denial of problem; worsening physical condition; loss of “control” over use; may become suicidal; financial and legal complications worsen; may have severed ties with family members or friends by this time.

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