The reason children use drugs ranges from simple to complex. Here are a few of the most common reasons children pick up a drug:
Peer pressure: Young people may give in to pressures from other kids to try drugs. They may use a drug to feel like part of the crowd, or to act grown-up.
Pleasure: Some teenagers say they take drugs to feel good.
Curiosity or Experimentation: At first, teenagers may be tempted to try a drug to find out for themselves what it is like. Usually people who use a drug for this reason do not continue use for long periods of time.
Boredom: If they lack outside activities and interests after school, young people may want to try something new and exciting. The 9:00 to 3:30 routine may be as boring to children as the 9:00 to 5:00 routine is for many adults.
Self-esteem: Young people, as well as adults, often use drugs to try to feel more confident about themselves. Drugs seem to make them feel more important and powerful.
Coping with stress: Many young people have not fully developed their problem-solving skills. Some of them use drugs to help cope with problems at school, in the family, and with social relationships.
Escapism: Drugs appear to make things better than they really are. Problems don’t seem as real or important.
Rebellion: Since most adults do not approve of drug use among children, young people may use drugs to rebel against parents or teachers.
Mental illness: Drug use may be an indicator of underlying mental illness.