“Teens who use drugs are more likely to engage in violent behavior, steal, use other drugs, and join gangs. In the past year, youth* who used an illicit drug were almost twice as likely to have engaged in a violent behavior as those who did not use an illicit drug. And one in four teens (27%) who abused illicit drugs in the past year report attacking others with the intent to harm.
Methamphetamine, marijuana, and prescription pain relievers are among the most abused drugs by teens who acted violently. The more drugs a teenager uses, the greater the tendency to engage in violent behavior.
Nearly one in six teens (17%) who got into serious fights at school or work in the past year reported using drugs. Among those teens engaging in violent acts during the past year, most were 13, 14, and 15 years old.
Adolescents represent approximately 14% of the general population, yet they comprise about 31% of the victims of violence, and teens are twice as likely as any other age group to be victims of violent crime.
Teen crime victims are also at a greater risk
of doing poorly in school, abusing drugs or alcohol, having problems eating or sleeping, being victimized, and perpetrating violent crime themselves.
Teens join gangs for a variety of reasons.
Some seek excitement; others are looking
for prestige, protection, income, or a sense of belonging. Other reasons teens join gangs include unstable family living conditions, the availability of drugs and alcohol, parents who tolerate or commit violence, falling behind
or failing in school, and hanging out with delinquents. The more of these risk factors children are exposed to, the more likely they are to join a gang during adolescence.”