How to Tell if Your Teen is Abusing Drugs

Thomas Wright, MD

This article, entitled "How to Tell if Your Teen is Abusing Drugs," is presented by Rosecrance, one of the nation’s leading teen substance use treatment facilities.

There is no safe level of substance use among teenagers. The recent legalization of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use has not made the drug harmless; it is an addictive substance and also can be a ‘gateway’ drug that may lead toward more serious addictions.

According to a recent study conducted by Harris Poll and commissioned by Rosecrance, 80 percent of parents of a child 13-17 years old strongly or somewhat agree that with legalization, teenage children may be more likely to experiment with marijuana.* Teenage addiction specialist Dr. Thomas Wright, MD, chief medical officer at Rosecrance, one of the nation’s leading teen substance abuse treatment centers, says using substances such as marijuana during the teen years can have a significant and often permanent effect on the still-developing brain. Like other substances such as alcohol and tobacco, marijuana can cause serious impairment. Dr. Wright explains that legalization could make marijuana more accessible and may send a mixed message to teenagers.

In the video below, Dr. Wright answers questions and explains that during this confusing time as marijuana is becoming legal in many states that teens, their parents, teachers, and others with whom they interact need to understand its dangers. He also shares tips for parents about determining if their teenager may be using marijuana or other substances.

Thomas Wright, MD, is the chief medical officer at Rosecrance. He specializes in working with adolescents who have a co-existing or secondary diagnosis in addition to an addiction disorder and has more than 20 years’ experience. Dr. Wright is certified as a child and adolescent psychiatrist by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and in addiction medicine by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. He served on the faculty at Northwestern Medical College in Chicago and at The University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago and Rockford. Dr. Wright is a regular conference presenter and has been recognized as a medical educator and leader in the field of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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