Reading time: 3 min

More often than not, addiction and mental illness take hold of individuals in high school. The formative years of one’s life are exceedingly difficult for many; drugs and alcohol can provide them with psychological relief and a sense of social acceptance. While most young people do not develop problems with substance use, a large number will have issues as they age.

Growing up in America has changed a lot in just a short period. The advent of social media has both connected and isolated youths from each other. The pressure to look a certain way, to be a specific type of person, and to have a social following that extends far beyond the classroom is high. A young person’s need to fit in can drive him or her down a path that is hard to escape.

While it’s a fact that progress has been made by way of prevention efforts, there is still a large number of youths who use drugs and alcohol in hazardous ways. Since addiction is first noticed in early adulthood, it is challenging to pinpoint how many high schoolers are struggling. Please take a moment to watch a short infographic video from the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.


Partying Without Drugs and Alcohol

drugs alcohol

Teenagers often have their first introduction to drugs and alcohol at high school parties. Wanting to fit in and a desire to be rebellious can cause youngsters to accept offers to try mind-altering substances. It is a typical story that often leads to severe issues down the road.

Many young people have the misconception that if they do not drink or drug, then they will be looked down upon by their peers. That may be true in some cases, but by and large, it is not. More teens do not use mind-altering substances than those who do. Still, the pressure to be “a part of” is intense, and it can influence young people to make unhealthy decisions.

We are happy to report that some high schoolers are reinventing what it means to party. Instead of throwing house parties that involve binge drinking, there are kids having fun without drugs and alcohol. A high school student in South Carolina hosted a party for more than two hundred students to rebel against peer pressure, WYFF reports. Dean Geraci, 17, invited students from six area high schools to his sober bash in Mount Pleasant, S.C. His message is that young people do not have to break the law to have fun.

“We were talking about how a lot of teenagers feel pressured into thinking they can only host a party if there’s alcohol, drugs,” Geraci said. “I’m just trying to hope to inspire more people to think, ‘Hey, I don’t have to be pressured to have a certain substance at my party in order for kids to come to my house and have fun.’” 

Dean also uses social media to reach peers who may be struggling with mental illness or addiction. This story is evidence that some American youths are working together to redefine what it means to “fit in” in high school, without relying on drugs and alcohol.


Southern California Young Adult Addiction Treatment

At Hope By The Sea, we help young adults transition from addiction to lifetime success. We have designed a program that addresses the unique needs of young people and gives them the tools for leading a productive life in recovery. Please contact us today to learn more.