Why COVID Could Put Adolescents at an Increased Risk for Developing a Substance Use Disorder

Why COVID Could Put Adolescents at an Increased Risk for Developing a Substance Use Disorder

It may be several years before experts know the full impact the pandemic has had on people’s physical and behavioral health but initial studies suggest that teenagers are still struggling mentally. Data shows that in 2022 over 15% of adolescents experienced at least one major depressive episode.

While some studies indicated a decrease in substance abuse in young people during the early months of the pandemic due to the lack of interaction with peers in environments where they had access to drugs and alcohol, data also shows that over 60% of adolescents reported not receiving any mental health treatment

15%

of adolescents experienced at least one major depressive episode

While it’s impossible to predict how many teenagers will develop a substance use disorder (SUD) in the future, factors such as the prominence of deadly illegal drugs such as fentanyl and untreated behavioral health issues put this demographic at an increased risk.