Adolescents and Substance Use

Alcohol and drug-related problems are serious health issues affecting almost every Pennsylvania community and family in some way, and the effect on adolescents can be particularly serious. Friends may be drinking or using illegal drugs. Family members may be struggling with addiction. In addition, due to developmental changes occurring in the brain, adolescents can be much more susceptible to developing problems with drugs and alcohol. Mental health issues also may coincide with substance use problems, with recent studies suggesting that anxiety is a particular area of concern for adolescents.

On average, over 4,000 Pennsylvania adolescents from ages 15-17 are admitted to state-funded drug and alcohol treatment programs each year. By arming themselves with the latest scientific information about drugs and alcohol, as well as how addiction develops, adolescents can make more informed decisions and find out when and where to get help if they need it. Use the navigation bar on the left to access resources within the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, or click on the links below for additional information:

NIDA for Teens – PeerX: The Science Behind Drug Abuse
A comprehensive website dedicated to helping teens get the information they need to make decisions about drugs and alcohol.

Too Smart to Start
Resources to help youth, families, educators, and communities prevent underage alcohol use and its related problems, from SAMHSA.

Tips for Teens Publications
Pamphlets from SAMHSA that give the facts on various substances of abuse.

A program for teens whose loved ones are suffering from alcohol or drug disorders.

Quotes from teens in recovery

(Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs)