How the American Health System Handles Teen Addiction

The American health system covers lots of ground and helps people with all kinds of health issues, from mental illness to physical ailments. It can be hard to understand how the health system helps specific groups of people, such as teens struggling with drug abuse and addiction.

Does America Have a Youth Drug Use Problem?

Photo by Christian Spies

Statistics and surveys show that many teens have tried drugs, but have misconceptions about their potential risks. According to a 2013 survey, 13% of 8th graders, 30% of 10th graders and 40% of 12th graders say that they have used a drug in the past year. Furthermore, 50% of high school seniors believe that trying crack cocaine once or twice is not dangerous, and 40% believe trying heroin once or twice will have no negative effects.

How the Health System Supports Prevention and Education

Photo by Annette Shaff

The American health system has developed various educational programs and school curricula for high schools throughout the country. These programs aim to teach teens prevention strategies, decision-making skills, dangers of drug abuse as well as the side effects of various drugs. However, many teens still hold false beliefs about the effects of harmful drugs.

How the Health System Helps With Treatment Costs

Photo by Margot Pando

Unfortunately, the American health system does not cover hospital stays or private rehabilitation programs, meaning families often rely on private health insurance to help cover costs. However, those who qualify for Medicaid may receive coverage for in-patient rehab.

Why the Current American Model is Not Enough

Photo by Yaoqi Lai

Drug overdoses are a serious problem for many 15 to 19 year olds in America. Although education and prevention programs are in place, which are key to dealing with addiction, the current American system lacks an effective procedure for helping teens and their families handle substance abuse issues.

How the Health System Could Better Address Teen Addiction

Photo by Ermin Celikovic

The American health system needs to make treatment more accessible to everyone. While this may be a big investment, addiction currently costs the American government $428 billion every year. An investment in early intervention and treatment may help reduce these costs over time. Fortunately, there are available resources for teens and families to get treatment help.

Feature photo: Splitshire