Using Drugs: Who Becomes Addicted?

First published 2015. To view the latest Heads Up content, click here.

Anyone who uses drugs is at risk for becoming addicted. Genes, family and environment, age, and mental health all influence an individual’s risk for using drugs and also for becoming addicted. Some factors make a person more vulnerable, while other factors have a protective effect. To find out more, study the factors below, and then answer the questions that follow.

Think It Through (Write your answers on separate paper.)

  1. Select three risk factors and three protective factors from the list above. Then, for each factor (total of six), provide a specific, real-life example that shows how it contributes to risk or protection.
  2. Which factors are teens able to control? Which factors do teens have limited or no control over?
  3. What are some ways teens can work to manage the factors they have limited or no control over?
  4. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the biggest risk is being around other teens who abuse drugs. Why do you think that would that be particularly dangerous?

Click here to download and print a copy of this Work Sheet (PDF)

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