An alarming trend of teen drug use in Charlotte, North Carolina, has seen a staggering increase among this area’s teens. In 2016 over 138 individuals have overdosed on heroin, and 10 of those people died.1 During a time when adolescents should be worrying about first dates and football games, too many teens are dealing with issues of substance abuse. Is this teen drug problem specific to Charlotte, or does it reflect a national trend? In this post, we’ll take a closer look at Charlotte’s teen drug use and see how it compares to the rest of the United States.
Drug use in Charlotte Statistics
According to data from the Department of Health and Human Services, teens in Charlotte and the rest of North Carolina are exposed to drugs and alcohol on a regular basis. This research indicated that 34 percent of North Carolina high school students drank on at least one occasion in the 30 days before the survey.2 Over 18 percent of the teen respondents said that they had begun drinking before the age of 13.
The survey also showed that 43 percent of North Carolina teens used marijuana, and 7 percent abused prescription painkillers. Reports from Charlotte locals reinforce these findings—many parents in the area report that marijuana is the biggest problem at their teens’ schools, with a few schools also experiencing a surge in heroin use.
A Nationwide Epidemic
The statistics for teen drug use in Charlotte and other areas of North Carolina may be discouraging, but this problem is not relegated to a single state. Drug abuse is a public health crisis that affects every geographic area and every demographic group in the country. Studies by the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimate that at least 23 million Americans could benefit from substance abuse treatment; unfortunately, the majority of these individuals don’t get the treatment they need.3
If you’re the parent of a teen who’s struggling with drug use, it’s common to experience a bit of denial. You might tell yourself that your teen is just going through a phase; you might assume that your teen’s drug use is nothing more than harmless experimenting. It’s also normal to feel frightened and even hopeless. The good news is, effective treatment is available, and it can help your teen turn their life around. Identifying a substance abuse problem in the earlier stages and taking quick action can increase the odds of a successful, long-term recovery.
Teen drug abuse is a growing problem in Charlotte, and it’s an issue that has impacted every region of the United States. If you have teens in your life, the key to helping them avoid substance abuse is education. Do your best to keep the lines of communication open, and talk to them candidly about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. There is also help outside of the home, with treatment centers like The Blanchard Institute who offer families order, education, awareness and support, creating a solid foundation for long-term recovery.