What is Primary Substance Abuse?

Primary substance abuse is when an individual primarily and directly abuses a substance, such as drugs or alcohol, without any underlying mental health or psychiatric disorder playing a significant role in their substance use. In other words, the individual’s substance abuse is the primary issue, and they are not using substances as a way to self-medicate or cope with an underlying mental health condition.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 12% of eighth graders, 20.5% of 10th graders, and 27.3% of 12th graders reporting vaping nicotine in the past year and 8.3% of eighth graders, 19.5% of 10th graders, and 30.7% of 12th graders reporting cannabis use in the past year. (source)

Substance abuse in adolescents has a significant and far-reaching impact on their lives. It can lead to immediate health risks, including the potential for overdose and damage to the developing brain. Adolescents who abuse substances are also at a higher risk of developing mental health disorders, which can further complicate their well-being. Educational outcomes are often negatively affected, with decreased academic performance. Substance abuse strains relationships, leading to conflicts with family and peers, and can result in legal and financial problems. Early intervention and support from professionals and the community are vital in mitigating these effects and helping adolescents overcome substance abuse.

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Alcohol

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Tobacco/Nicotine

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Cannabis

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Inhalant

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Hallucinogen

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Stimulant

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Depressant

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Ketamine

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Solvent

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Polydrug

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