Where is My Teen Getting Drugs?

If you know or suspect that your teen is using drugs, you might be wondering how they are accessing them. Your teen may be purchasing the drugs through friends at school or online, or they might even be acquiring them in your own bathroom cabinet. Here are some of the places your teen could be accessing drugs.

Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs

Over-the-counter drugs include common cough and cold medications. If your teen is abusing these, they might be purchasing them legally from a pharmacy or taking them from a family medicine cabinet. If you are concerned that your teen is abusing family supplies of cough and cold medication, avoid stockpiling them or leaving them in an accessible location.


Inhalants are common household items which produce a high when their vapors are sniffed or “huffed.” This can include (but not limited to) household cleaning products, felt markers, gasoline and nitrite from whipped cream cans. These products are legal to purchase in grocery or hardware stores, making them easy to access. These are generally readily available for teens to abuse in theirs or their friends’ homes.

Prescription drugs

Many prescription drugs, when taken in excess or without a doctor’s diagnosis, can create a high. Teens might acquire prescription drugs from lying to a doctor about personal ailments, taking them from a family member’s prescription bottle, getting them from a friend or even purchasing them illegally online or on the street. This can also apply to marijuana in states where prescriptions for it are legal.

Street drugs

Finally, there are street drugs. This includes illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and meth. You might imagine that the only way to get such drugs is by engaging in a street-level drug deal. While this is one option, teens might also receive drugs at a party from their friends, from peers at school or even by purchasing them online.

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Image Tripp

Put simply, there are various drugs available to teens with many ways to access them. Be sure to have open conversations with your teens about the effects and risks of drugs so that they can be aware and stay safe.

Feature image Francis Mariani