Why Drugs Are The 1 Killer Of Teens In America?

drugs are the 1 killer of teens in america

Every day, approximately 115 Americans die as a direct result of drug use. Overdose deaths involving opioids have quadrupled since 1999, and opioids were involved in 42,249 deaths in 2016 — more than any other year on record. So, why drugs are the 1 killer of teens in america?

In 2017, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration stated that “the death toll from overdoses now eclipses that of gun homicides”. Drugs are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, and teens are especially vulnerable. Let’s take a closer look at why drugs are the number one killer of teens in America.

The Powerful Addiction of Opioids

One of the main reasons drugs are such a problem for teens in America is the powerful addiction potential of opioids.Opioids act on opioid receptors throughout the brain and spinal cord to reduce the intensity of pain signals and feelings of pain. In other words, they can be very effective at managing pain. However, they can also be very addictive.

The reports:

NIDA reports that “About 1 in 4 people who receive medical treatment with prescription opioids long term for noncancer pain in studies report problematic use”. Furthermore, “Nearly half of young people aged 18 to 25 who misuse prescription opioids say they obtained them from a friend or relative”.

This means that many teens who start misusing prescription opioids do so because they are easily accessible. Once someone becomes addicted to opioids, it can be very difficult to break free from the addiction without professional help. 

The Dangers of Illicit Drugs

In addition to prescription opioids, there is a wide range of other drugs that pose a danger to teen users. These include illicit drugs like marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and LSD. 

According to NIDA, “teens are more likely than adults to use several substances at once”. This practice is known as poly drug use, and it significantly increases the risk of overdose and other serious consequences.

For example, combining marijuana with alcohol can result in impaired coordination and decision-making abilities; combining stimulants can lead to erratic behavior and increased body temperature; and combining sedatives can cause slowed breathing and heart rate — both of which could lead to coma or death. Given the dangers posed by poly drug use, it’s not surprising that drugs are the leading cause of death for Americans under age 50. 

Reasons include:

  1. Every year, drugs kill more teens in America than any other cause.
  2. Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for teens in America.
  3. Three out of four teen deaths from drugs are due to prescription drugs.
  4. Most teens who die from drugs are using them without a prescription.
  5. Teens who use drugs are more likely to get addicted than adults.
  6. Drugs can damage the developing brain and lead to lifelong problems.
  7. Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease that requires treatment.


Drugs are a major problem for teens in America. The powerful addiction potential of opioids combined with the wide availability of these drugs makes them easy for teens to get their hands on. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to get help from a professional treatment program.