Substance abuse is the harmful pattern of using substances leading to impairment or distress. Such substances include tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, and prescription drugs. One or more of the following behaviors can occur from the use of the above substances:
- Recurrent substance use resulting in failure to fulfill major responsibilities at work, school, or home such as repeated absences, suspension, and expulsion
- Recurrent substance use in situations where it is physically dangerous, such as driving while impaired
- Recurrent substance-related legal problems, such as arrests for disorderly conduct that are substance-related
- Continued substance use despite having persistent or recurring social or personal problems caused or worsened by substance use.
“One of the most highly abused substances among youth in the U.S. is alcohol. Youth engage in binge drinking, a pattern of drinking that elevates the blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 percent or above, more than adults do. This can lead to risky and potentially harmful behaviors, and many times substance abuse (60-75 percent of youth with substance abuse problems) co-occurs with mental health disorders.”
“Substance use, abuse, and dependence can negatively impact every aspect of an individual’s life. Child-serving systems need to intervene early in the lives of youth to prevent or treat abuse, support young people, and provide them with the tools to choose the right path.”