As teen drug abuse declines nationwide, it holds steady right here in the Texas Panhandle. One local chemical dependency counselor says that abuse causes severe damage to the adolescent brain.
Lidia Anderson a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor who works with teens says usually they start with the gateway drugs like cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana before they get hooked on something stronger.
"With adolescence or young people their still growing so the addiction process comes on pretty quick and it can be deadly."
Anderson says their body may react one way, but the damage it causes to the brain is long term.
"The brain is continuing to develop and grow in adolescents stage until actually about age 25, so it really stunts the growth of the brain."
Causing problems with cognitive behaviors like thinking, problem solving and decision making.
"They don't see the problem the drug is causing despite what the family and friends and the people that are close to them tell them tell them, they really don't see the problem or the long term effects, they are just focusing on the short term payoffs."
So Anderson says if your teenager starts abusing drugs at 15, their brain will still function on that level until they stop using. She recommends any teen or parent of a teen who wants to stop using drugs to contact the A.W.A.R.E. program at 1-800-687-4071.